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It's respectable enough, I suppose, that you have a personal code you like to stick to.
But it sounds to me, from everything you've said, like the PCs are too overpowered for the module in question.
You can't run an adventure for level 10 - 12 characters taking equivalent level 15 characters and expect a challenge. You have to make adjustments.
It is a story hook thing, not a game mechanic.
Ever see "Stir Of Echoes?" The horror movie with Kevin Bacon? The "voices" are sometimes whispers, but more often visions which give the recipient clues, which he follows to unravel the mystery of what happened to the deceased.
There are many movies and books that use this form of storytelling. But the point is, you can find a class that can "hear spirits" technically, but it's probably not going to give you any mechanic that effectively describes or plays out what is actually happening to your character in a meaningful way.
That's up to you and the GM.
Probably all of this could have been bypassed with an acknowledgment that, for most of us, it is a given that the PCs are exceptional, and because of that, and in line with standard fantasy tropes/mythological tales/fairy tales/legends, their colleagues, opponents, foes, rivals, and mentors and special tools are equally rare, especially magical tools and spellcasters.
The exception would be higher magic campaigns, which can range widely.
That isn't to say that I don't enjoy reading through post after post of increasingly angry pedantry, bordering on a flamewar. Because I do, in a sad, sick way. But it is a long way around to go, to point out something that has been an instinctive go-to default for most GMs' campaigns for more than forty years.
No. It sounds like Spelljammer.
I assume it'll be most like Spelljammer.
From the write up from Paizo themselves, this is exactly what it sounds like.
It certainly does not read like a generic, modern SciFi game.
Personally, I would have preferred a modern ruleset, closer to d20 Modern Future.
You can make a Spelljammer thing out of existing materials with just a little work. You don't need a whole new division/edition to make that happen.
Oh well. I'm already hip deep in my own Pathfinder Modern mod, anyway, so I guess I'll just get back to it.
I guess my players are an exception. They don't seem to have any problem using it in combat; either finding opportunities, or giving up their moment of glory to do it.
I used to have a player or two who you'd never catch "wasting" actions to help anyone else succeed, and while that sort of behavior might have been taken for granted when we were teenagers, it became pretty lame to see full grown men with gray in their beards still acting this way. Fortunately, the Natural Selection of our gaming group has weeded those fellows out.
I think it was partly an incident with a party paladin and a demon of some sort that convinced much of the group that Aid Another was still viable at higher levels. Those +2s might not seem like much in some situations, but when you are aiding a character who is made for combatting a particular foe, they add up quickly to a neat and tidy combat with much fewer resources wasted amongst the entire group.
What stuns me are the people claiming it's "getting worse." Since the core is the same as it's been since Day One, I can only imagine these poor unfortunate souls live amongst oppressive, fascist-like dictatorial Game Store owners, or a fleet of Satanic GMs who force them to play with every new splat book that comes out, and that they cannot decline to play the game at all because a Paizo-paid assassin has fitted their beloved pets with explosive collars programmed to detonate if they don't sign in electronically at their weekly game.
How can a thing that is the same get worse due to expansions if you are not required to use the expansions? OH... IT CAN'T.
For my part, I love Pathfinder for the same reason I loved 3.5: monster building. I love making monsters, and I love a system that defines them clearly so that they can be made to be balanced. I'd played D&D since 1981, and I saw no reason to give up what felt to me to be a system that had finally arrived at a place where I could fairly create the menaces I had long dreamed of building. I don't deny that the system overall can be cumbersome. But being old school, I don't let it drag down the flow of the game. If things need to move, then I just move them along, and the rules can be bent to do so... nothing different from how we always played.
The only systems I've ever played, where monster creation felt more Game Master-friendly, were the ones I, myself, created.
I'd like to make sure I understand the consensus. At least as it seems to stand.
That is that the only people who DON'T know how to design something for Pathfinder, are Paizo themselves, because they've never even glanced at all the work they've done for it.
Did I get that right?
Seems like that's all I've really taken away from this discussion.
Break the two examples down into their attendant ability score bonuses:
A warrior 4 is CR 2 and has the basic stat array/bonuses of 13 (+1), 12 (+1), 11 (+0), 10 (+0), 9 (-1), 8 (-1).
Those bonuses, depending on where they go, represent a better chance to hit, to deal more damage, to avoid being hit, more hit points, etc. If this were a spellcasting class, they would mean more spells, higher DCs, etc. This can merit a +1 CR depending on how they are applied. This is less like making a character and more nuanced, like making a monster. But it can be done. My recommendation is to become as accustomed to the monster creation rules as possible. The more you do so, the less these odd situations will perplex you. They're more art than science.
The rules are written as they are for ease of use of novice GMs. That's why they're so cut-and dry, and why they encourage coloring within the lines. But there's no reason you shouldn't be able to - carefully - draw up some lines of your own.
Milo v3 wrote:
Until your cavemen accidentally stumble upon the Barrier Peaks.
Huh... I don't collect many modern day pregen adventures and I never play them. I write all my own campaigns. So I never noticed this.
I guess I assumed every GM eventually used a Master-Blaster villain concept (small smart guy, giant dumb guy) as that is a common trope in film and books. Or, that more people remembered Qesnef/Fenseq from White Plume Mountain (though he was actually not really... well, I'll not spoil it). Or that more people used the archetypal tiny mad scientist (another villain trope).
I have, and do.
Worthless is as worthless does. My motto, since 1981, has been, "roll me up a little girl with a butter knife and I'll slay you a dragon with her."
I think the difference is whether you are playing the game or letting the game play you.
I call it a challenge, but I understand challenge to be a difficult concept for some people nowadays.
I simply disagree with the game designers. As for the undead being evil, that's impossible, based on the principle that they're mindless. It's impossible to have an alignment if you don't think.
I think you probably understand that evil in the game is generally a force acting upon the world. Thus, artifacts, items, undead, and other mindless things can be evil, without regard to INTENT, which is usually the qualifier of evil for real human beings.
Acting cute and pretending you don't know that won't help you win your case, since it's been a given in the game since about... oh, say... 1974. Specific alignments of creatures may have changed over the years, but evil has always been a... thing on some level... not just a decision. But a force.
Now, if you don't WANT to play that way, that's fine. You're going to find yourself doing a lot of rewriting and revisioning. You might want to prepare a fully-edited PDF for your fellow players to study, since treating Evil as a non-force in the game world will affect a lot of rules. But it can be done. With work. With lots and lots of work.
But that's you choice, and you needn't dabble in trolling to make it. Just do it.
As to the question itself, if I choose to take it seriously, I think a lot of fun could be had playing a non-evil character dabbling in evil things and finding himself corrupted by it. It's an old trope, but a good one. I prefer to keep necromancy evil for my own games because then I don't have to do all that revisioning. And it's gross. And it's unnatural. But mostly, because when you create undead you are enslaving something. Whether it be a soul, spirit, body, whatever. You are enslaving helpless remains and possibly binding somebody's soul. That's pretty wicked.
I had one guy in the game who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules and used it to his advantage in every situation, tried to impose rules on non-rules and story situations, argued often, stopped the game at times, was completely inflexible when it came to ad hoc rulings, killed momentum and spontaneity, and re-interpeted the rules to his advantage each time it suited him without a hint of irony.
Bad rules lawyer. (Bad! Off the couch!)
I had another guy in the game who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules and used it to help me clear things up when there was confusion, who helped his companions choose good spells and feats, sped up the time it took to find obscure rules, set the rules aside when really fun things were happening, liked ad hoc rulings for the spontaneity they provided, and waited until after the game to keep me honest by bringing up anything he thought might be problematic later, or might have been a questionable ruling.
Good rules lawyer. GM's helper.
Clearly, nobody is wrong about whether or not they HAVE an opinion. That's just dodging the subject. Everybody has an opinion. We all know that.
But I call BS on the old, tired, lame, wrong-headed argument that keeping jerks in line makes the rest of us the bad guys. An editorial on CNN recently opined that people ought to be allowed to think and say all the stupid crap in their minds, and then they ought to have to face the consequences for doing so. And I totally agree with that.
But when you make that thought and that speech into a physical thing that affects the lives of others, you are crossing a line. You are now doing real harm in the world. And there is nothing - no phony "objectivity" shield in the world, you can hide behind, that will make that okay or mitigate your guilt. Objectivity is great for science, and it's all nice and well in an online argument. But in the end, we human beings HAVE to set standards and we HAVE to agree upon a mutually understood standard of respect and civility, or we won't last as a species.
Did everybody here take Critical Thinking 101? Yep. We all are duly impressed with each other's ability to debate objectivity and subjectivity until we're blue in the face. Hoorah - we're so damned smart.
How does that apply to actual human beings? How would you like it to be applied to YOU?
And by the way, this "Freedom of Religion" nonsense isn't new. Back in the 1960s an almost identically-named law was floated (and killed by the Supreme Court), based on the right of Christians to freely practice their religion by discriminating against, and banning black people from businesses, on the basis that the Bible advocates slavery, amongst other awfulness, and so they ought to have the right to avoid them, blah, blah, blah...
My response to this is simple: if you're not adult enough to be a part of the human race, you don't have to. Stay at home with your doors boarded up. Pout in your closet all you want. But the rest of us have every right to make the world better for ourselves. ALL of us. And we're too far along as a species to keep acting like little children.
Yeah, that other thread was a mess. Lots of confusion going on there, though the outcome was ultimately the same.
It is a long standing trope of Fantasy that dwarves and orcs hate each other to the core of their beings. I am assuming you are trying to avoid that tired trope.
So, without rearranging what you already have, I see no reason why evil dwarves aren't a good enough foe for good dwarves.
Dwarves are pretty religious. All you need do is come up with an evil, preferably Chaotic dwarf god, and pretty soon you have hordes of chaotic dwarves waging bloody war on, and stealing everything from, the good and law-abiding citizens of Gooddwarftown.
It's good enough for Warhammer and Kings of War, and any other number of tabletop Fantasy settings. The potential for crazy giant angry battle is endless.
Logical fallacies and twisted interpretations abound.
A familiar must be AT LEAST adjacent to you. That their abilities continue to work when they are in the same square does not redefine "adjacent." It's just common sense.
That Tiny creatures must enter your square to attack you, likewise does not redefine the word. The game abounds with special attacks, spells, features, etc., that are exceptions to the rule without redefining the rule.
That what the player wants to do is not entirely game breaking is irrelevant to whether he is using a word within its actual meaning. The GM may allow the strategy anyway, but still want to know the meaning of the term.
Adjacent in the game takes its meaning from these two Merriam-Webster definitions:
b : having a common endpoint or border <adjacent lots> <adjacent sides of a triangle>
It does not count the squares touching the squares that are adjacent to your square. If you allow that, where does it end?
"Well... now I think the squares touching the squares that touch the squares around my square count as adjacent, too! Yeah. In fact, everybody in town is adjacent to me. I think I'll make one roll and try to hit them all at once."
Despite sounding similar to a Twilight Zone episode, this is still a good idea. I would have the kid in a state of denial. He knows what he has done on an instinctive level, but hasn't ever acknowledged it out loud.
This idea, on the whole, has appeared in a number of films and books over the years. In most cases, the people are physically-manifested ghosts - that is, they are physical, and can be touched and interacted-with, but there is something "off" about them. They are too quiet, sometimes space out, and sometimes manifest strange wounds that either reappear and disappear, or never disappear once they are discovered by the protagonists.
You don't need a specific creature to do this, nor rules beyond giving them a low NPC level. If the PCs hurt or kill them, the body just disappears when they aren't looking, then reappears later. See above about the wounds. You don't need a DC for Will saves, either. Describing their behavior in a moody, freaky way should be good enough (horror or macabre games are not about making the characters uncomfortable, they are about making the players uncomfortable).
In some stories, the dead people start disappearing in the order they died, acting as a clue to the protagonists as to what is really going on (provided they find the right newspaper clippings, or diary to match the clue to).
Most of the time, they need the protagonists to do something to help them find peace, but in their efforts to convince them to help, end up terrorizing them, instead. Shades of Sixth Sense there, but still a common trope.
There are a couple of characters like this in the Anime X and Betterman, and a few others.
They basically sit back at base, or somewhere off in a remote vehicle, usually connected up to some master computer or system, and psychically assist the people on scene, though mostly with tactical advice or psychic insight, and only sometimes with some sort of manifested power.
Per usual Anime guidelines, they tend to be very waifish, depressed young girls with high voices and brightly colored hair.
For what it's worth, much fluff and novelization concerning the Plane of Shadow, especially as relates to the Forgotten Realms, back in the 2nd Ed and 3.x days, involved both time and distance passing differently in places that seemed otherwise similar on that and the Prime Material Plane.
I have never had trouble GMing similar phenomena. My players always seem to dig that stuff. Even if there isn't a hard and fast rule on this in any book, you should feel free to use it. After all, Rule of Cool and Rule of Fun trump all other rules.
You could technically choose to Sunder straps first and Disarm shield in second attack. It would require two successful CMB checks, but seems logical in it's own way I guess.
This. This is just how I would adjudicate it.
Slightly unusual requests call for slightly unusual processes. This one is not unreasonable.
Back in the early days of the game, poison was very dangerous. It was often a save-or-die situation. Very dangerous.
I think two things changed that.
The first is that poison in movies and books often does not kill the main characters. It serves more as a threat that puts them out of action for awhile, or a trope for sustaining tension as you wait to see if the character will make it (but they do 99.9% of the time, so it's only effective for less experienced readers/viewers). If you're real lucky, the poison ends up leaving the afflicted character with some permanent disability. But usually not. People often forget that the game is structured for heroic adventure, so a lot of the mechanics are set up to emulate such tropes.
Second, and relatedly, the whole change for saving throws in general, beginning with 3.0, created a softer system for effects such as these. In some ways it makes saves for other things, like diseases, more realistic, in that the effects harm abilities and over longer periods. But for shorter term effects, such as poison, it creates more opportunities to overcome the affliction. Again, that serves the trope, but not realism. So the question becomes, how much realism do you want, and does that harm the fun? For some players, it does.
I'm not a big fan of too much realism in the game, in that sense. And, to be honest, I was never a huge fan of save-or-die. My first AD&D character, in 1981, died in his first encounter, in his first adventure, at my very first game session, in the first five minutes of the game, because he did not spot a spider, who bit him, the save was high, I failed, and he fell right over on his face. Game over for me. Not fun.
That said, I do miss the heightened sense of danger such mechanics provide.
For me, now, I see poison as something that is a greater threat against solo characters with no magic on them, and as a tool for assassins and rogue-types, whose sneak attacks maximize the effectiveness of poison, particularly at lower levels. In that sense, it is an alternative to something like a bleed effect, though you really will have access to that sort of thing soon enough.
So, yes, poison is not what it once was.
However, getting back to you player's comments, mechanically speaking, gloves by themselves do not thwart the possibility of your character getting hurt by poison. That's what the poison use ability does.
I like how this new person came here with a very simple question: "can I play a non-evil Drow in a home (non-PFS) game?" and you essentially tripped over each other in your rush to punish him for asking.
Firstly, there is no hard rule on this, nor "official" rule as some of you have stated, but beside that, he never said his game was set in Golarion, so assuming so and shoving that down his throat was extraneous and presumptive, at best. Moreover, this thread is not in PFS.
Worse, you all quickly hijacked the thread to get into a giant argument about emo characters and "Mary Sues" and whatever other bits you lot might have stumbled upon over at TV Tropes.
The short and quick answer is that guys have been playing non-evil Drow in home campaigns since the game began, and as long as his GM is okay with it, really ANY backstory is just fine.
Seriously, this behavior is the cause of two things:
1. It's why we can't have nice things.
2. It's why people are afraid of gamers.
I wouldn't be surprised if the OP never came here for advice again.
Isn't building a character that you don't actually use equivalent to an NPC - since you're "Not Playing"...?
On these boards, any hint that a GM might use a character he did not specifically stat as an NPC, and that might be as "cool" and powerful as a PC, would earn that GM a boatload of hate mail as a player of a "DMPC."
And I am not that guy.
My variation on this is that I am almost never, ever a player. I am just about always the GM.
For decades and decades now.
Sometimes when I see a mini I really like, and I start to work on him, I will think, "man, I'd love to play this guy as a PC."
And then, maybe I'll stat him up. Even though I know I'll likely never get to play him.
34. An annual week-long spring festival draws visitors from far and wide (including adventurers). All that wealth and potential victims in one place is also a natural draw for bandits and other baddies...
Remember this one from an Issue of Dragon:
35. The Inn the PCs happen to be staying in suddenly collapses into a sinkhole beneath, where the caverns all exist on the Plane of Shadow. They have to work together to protect the normal folks and find a way out.
Steve Geddes wrote:
It is a long standing tradition in RPGs that players fall in love with their first exciting experiences, and then hang their nostalgia hats on those systems and adventures, enshrining them in a rose-colored glass case against which no subsequent system or adventure can compare.
If you started with the original D&D box sets, you're likely going to find out that you defend your position on every new rule change and every new system release to those pamphlets. If you started in 1st Ed, same thing. 2nd Edition kids think that edition was the pinnacle of greatness. 3rd Edition kids can't understand how we old folks ever played the game before their Precious was released, etc.
Adventures follow the exact same pattern. If, to use myself as an example, you fell in love with the game through AD&D's A Series (slavers), G Series (Against the Giants), and S Series (Tomb of Horrors/White Plume Mountain), then you are apt to rapt nostalgic about how "cool" and "dangerous" adventures were then, and likely nothing since has ever compared.
My own adventures and campaigns are a constant struggle to bring that feel back, even if to update it and refine it into something better balanced and more "realistic" in detail. I am always disappointed with new "professionally" published adventures, Paizo and otherwise. But not because they suck. Intellectually, I understand that most are well written and deserving pieces of work. Emotionally, however, I just cannot connect with them the way I did back when it was all new.
Makes me a terrible customer in terms of adventure paths (I'm still a GREAT customer when it comes to snatching up rulebooks) because I approach them with caution, rarely buy, and then never seem to use them for my own games. Makes me a really good writer and GM though. I always go the extra 10 or 11 miles.
You have my sympathies. I have probably the most extended experience with the most problematic players you could imagine in the years since I began playing (1981), and I always cringe when I hear about this sort of thing. I feel you. This person sounds like a combination of a couple problem players of my own. Probably not coincidentally, they, too, are both female. I find female problem players have a different bag of tricks from the male problem players, though I will say that in my experience the males are more chronic and less apt to change for the better before getting tossed from the game.
This is a particularly difficult situation, because you don't want to lose the boyfriend in the equation.
Now, I am going to throw something out that you might not like.
She is being a jerk, yes.
So are the rest of you. The GM is responding to her stubbornness by trying to punish her character. You guys are getting riled up by her behavior right in front of her, and trying to push her. You are fighting on her terms, allowing her to control you emotionally and make you angry. She is pushing buttons (perhaps unwittingly) and you are responding in kind.
As a father, let me tell you that the worst thing you can do is let your kid see that he is upsetting you. It is the quickest and surest way to lose control of the situation. Same thing goes for being a GM and for playing in a group.
In short, the problem player wants attention, even (maybe especially) negative attention, and man are you guys giving it to her.
I am not going to give you a magic bullet to fix this, because there isn't one. It's a precarious position. But the rest of the group is also responsible for making it so. You are placing too much importance on the boyfriend's role in your game. This makes it unbearable to lose him, which in turn ratchets up the tension. You also seem to be making some real assumptions as to why she acts this way. I have a feeling you don't know for sure that LARPing has caused this behavior. Like Uma Thurman's gangsters in Pulp Fiction, gamers are worse than a knitting circle when it comes to sitting around gossiping and making assumptions about others.
You all need to be honest and speak with each other, and you all need to be flexible. If you don't want to lose the boyfriend, you will have to deal with the girlfriend like grown up human beings, rather than inflexible man children whose favorite toy is threatened. Get the group together and talk about everybody's role without pointing fingers. Find some common ground and play there. Stop treating other people like children of a lesser god and concentrate on the positive things they bring to the table. I bet you'll find that if you can zero in on something positive in her, and help her accentuate that, she will back off on the more obnoxious stuff.
End of line.
I think you all need to get off the grid in situations like this, and just imagine it as it would be in real life. It's a cone, so the space it affected on the ground would be a circular area fifteen feet across.
This is why I am so glad we never use a grid. Rulers measure distance just fine, and AoE templates from games like Warmachine can easily be used to adjudicate scenarios like this one.
I am just asking in general, because it feels like the fabric of reality that holds everything together is falling apart...
Getting back to the OP, what organ is it that "senses" the "fabric of reality that holds everything together," and what brand of ginseng improves it so that I can share in this tingly sensation?
Need more info. What specifically are you using, and does it affect the character's knowledge in a way that is unrealistic or unreasonable in-game?
That's what metagaming is, in a nutshell. It's when your character can't possibly know a thing, but you give him that information or you play him in a way that would indicate he understands he is in a game or story.
Character creation is different. You can use your knowledge of the game to craft a character whose background can be reasonably explained to contain certain knowledge. He just won't know what a CR is, or how his knowledge translates to stats.
The Elusive Trout wrote:
I made a dungeon out of a dead outsider and put fleshy deformities and decay all over the chambers. Then, to make matters worse, I put a key item in what looked like a floor sphincter. Said hole had trap oozes in it.
That's funny, because not too long ago, I began an adventure with an "introductory" encounter where the party found themselves stuck in an interdimensional space with The @#$hole of Eternity, which was a talking sphincter occupying a 15'x15' square in a dungeon floor. I actually sculpted a mini for it out of Magic Sculpt surrounded by Hirst Arts tiles.