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Caedwyr's page

2,737 posts (2,739 including aliases). 6 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 1 alias.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:

Related to Caedwyr's querry could the social duels subsystem be used to mundanely convince the evil necromancer to not murder the party?

How extensive is that subsystem?

Very clever: You have correctly predicted some of the advice in one of the sections (after a successful Diplomacy, potentially using influence, relationships, verbal duels, or even a full-scale social conflict to convince her).

Thanks for the extra info Mark.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Chemlak wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Skeld wrote:
Quote:

  • Diplomacy is not mind control.

People thought Diplomacy was mind control?

-Skeld

Edit: Next thing you'll be telling me that people think charm person is mind control!

This is something I'd like to know. Just how limits does the Diplomacy skill and the charm person spell have, according to UI?

I'll take Diplomacy.

The basic points are that just because someone is friendly or helpful, doesn't mean they're going to change their own behaviours. Evil necromancer queen might like you a lot, so she turns you into a free-willed undead instead of killing you and animating you as a zombie. Nice woman.

Also, the ability to make requests without annoying the subject doesn't mean they have to do what you ask, just that the act of asking them hasn't pissed them off, and they'll consider your request in a positive way. Even so, asking evil necromancer queen not to kill the rest of your party, pretty please with a cherry on the top, might be at odds with her sworn oath to kill every living thing in the country, so... well, shucks, you're a wight, how about we make your friends all wight, too?

That's a solid and concise summary, though I'd say that the full description is more on the side of explaining ways to make things happen over time, have the diplomacied character suggest a compromise, etc (mostly since it has more words in it to explain, not because of any shortcoming in the summary).

Would it be accurate then to summarize the advice as constraining the outcomes of the skill system for diplomacy within the mundane and not extending into the fantastic? It sounds from the description above, that silver-tongued tricksters have to rely on magic or supernatural power sources now and cannot achieve the same effect through incredible skill. This is also more consistent with the rest of the skill system and the types of outcomes it allows.


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And then, even worse after having a user-unfriendly initial introduction to the site, the new customer is met with ridicule and hostility from the board veterans.


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Take a look at Cerulean Seas for how electrical attacks are modified underwater. It has pretty comprehensive rules.

Cerulean Seas, Chapter 6: Magic of the Sea wrote:
Electricity Energy Effects: Electricity is a common element under the ocean, though it assumes a much different form than it does on land. On land, electricity is known for its bright crackling arcs of lightning. While these are not unheard of in an undersea setting, the fact is that the oceans rarely get hit with lightning. The surface water of the sea does not typically heat up enough to cause the positive charge needed for lightning to occur. When it does occur, it is almost always near shore. After lightning hits the water, it disperses in a great and terrible electrical sphere that is as deadly as it is undetectable. The picture this paints of underwater electricity is more commonly exemplified by the electric eel. Instead of flashy and sweeping arcs, electricity is known for its invisible spheres of damage. The lightning bolt of the sea, electrical surge, is actually a small sphere of electricity that travels towards the target, rather than a continuous arc. Aside from a trail of dead plankton and the occasional bubble of steam, this effect is relatively quiet and undetectable compared to its drylander equivalent.
Cerulean Seas, Chapter 6: Magic of the Sea - Electrical Surge wrote:

ELECTRICAL SURGE

School evocation [electricity]; Level sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a few scales from an electric eel)
Range 120 ft.
Area 120-ft. line
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Reflex half; Spell Resistance yes
You release a pulse of electrical energy that deals 1d6 points of electricity damage per caster level (maximum 10d6) to each creature within its area. The pulse begins at your fingertips, and moves forward at lightning speed to the end of the area. While the end effect is the same as its surface equivalent "lightning bolt," the source of the damage is basically a five foot diameter sphere of electricity traveling through the extent of the area very quickly rather than a continuous stream of electrical energy arcing from the caster to the target.

The electrical surge can melt metals with a low melting point, such as lead, gold, copper, silver, or bronze. If the damage caused to an interposing barrier shatters or breaks through it, the pulse may continue beyond the barrier if the spell's range permits; otherwise, it stops at the barrier just as any other spell effect does. Out of water, this spell has a range of touch, with an area of "creature touched".

Based off these two, if you wanted to modify electrical spells in the water when they haven't been designed for the environment, you could make them touch ranged spheres rather than their normal effect.


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Speaking as a person with less GM experience, I would prefer to have the CR of dragons/outsiders etc reflect their actual capabilities and be consistent in how they are applied compared to other creatures/NPCs. This would make it easier to use them in encounters that I design because it doesn't have a hidden assumption that they are going to be used as a solo monster.

If you want to make it easier for a GM to use as a solo monster, maybe a general rule or template could be designed to help turn a creature/NPC into an appropriate solo monster fight. The PF system already has problems in encounter design for solo fights. Enemies are either too powerful and wipe the floor with the players if they aren't holding the idiot ball, or they are overwhelmed by the action economy.

If you look at how other games treat solo enemy fights, they normally have padded HP, more actions, and attacks/moves that put pressure on the entire party, but not high enough damage/threat that they can one-shot party members. Then again, many games also make their solo enemies hold the idiot ball and not use their abilities to the fullest. Personally, I've always found encounters that involve multiple enemies, terrain, and hazards to be much more interesting and satisfying.

For enemies that normally come in groups, I can see a potential problem in the other direction. Solo they are weaker than normal, but group synergy can raise their threat level above what multiple monsters/npcs would normally provide. I'm guessing you have some sort of adjustment factor to the CR calculations, but if you don't, a tool such as this would make it much easier for GMs to design encounters and have the expected difficulty levels.


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From my experience with technical writing where it is important to eliminate ambiguity, writing less is often the best approach. It takes more work but you can frequently find a way to communicate a concept or meaning using fewer words with less ambiguity.

Even within the legal community, there is a movement to eliminate legalese as it is difficult to understand and frequently creates additional ambiguity which in turns requires additional text to eliminate.


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How do stealth, lighting, and concealment rules work?

How do ride and charge rules and all the various feats/subsystems work together?


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Yes, I do a lot of technical writing at work and frequently the phrasings with the most clarity actually use substantially less words to so. It does require someone with skills in technical writing.


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Norman Osborne wrote:
A lot of the stuff may be allowable in a strictly RAW manner, but there's a ton of stuff that is RAW-legal that any GM who is even halfway competent isn't going to allow.

Okay, then that is saying that there is lots of material in the game which will trip up any new GM and thus newer players/GMs should either find another game or expect to have lots of problems until they have stepped on all the landmines.


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That sounds like a reasonable implementation.


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I've done it as well in the past. I'm just saying, that on other forums it is something I've observed that gets weaponized when lots of the other ways people can be unpleasant and nasty to each other gets locked down. Also, even if we don't mean it that way, it is very easy for the person to get moderated to take it as others attacking them if they see a moderator post with a huge number of agrees. It contributes to the feeling of being dogpiled. If you want the moderators to be seen as not taking sides in an argument or more of a neutral faction that enforces the spirit of the rules, it has been shown to be better to prevent one side or another from co-opting them or be seen to co-opting. This isn't for some high-minded reason, but rather just what I've seen work best at other forums.


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I saw your review this morning and it made me remember my promise to post my own review. There's a number of subsystems that have been done by others, very well, but even still the ones in this book work well or are complementary to those other sources. Most of the systems are very simple and easy to implement.

I look forward to seeing your review posted over here as well :)


I finally added my review. As I note in the review, while the classes and archetypes are pretty awesome and provide a huge amount of customization, the secondary systems are the real draw of the book for me. Nicely done!


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I'll probably regret this, but here is the opening post.

Yoshu Uhsoy wrote:

Hi!

If a 20th level of each class was played in an all out battle who would be victorious. It would be every man for himself, no teams.

1 Who would win/survive: I think the pally or the summoner. Pally because it can tank like crazy and has crazy saves, it also has good healing/condition removal. Summoner because they have an eidolon and can summon tons of other creatures to help. Barb and cleric may have a chance also.

2 Who would die first: I would say rouge because they are so squishy.

3 Who would kill the most opponents: I would say Blaster Wizard because of all the aoe available. Range,Lance,Pounce Barb would do pretty well also because of the sheer damage output.

4 If they had to stay alive for at least 2 months in the wild who would win then: I would say probably ranger or it still could be pally or summoner though. Ranger because they can make animals friendly, can hunt really well, and are stealthy.

What are your opinions on this. Plz say who and why they would do well.

By the way all of the characters would be played by people of an equal skill level.

Thanks!

Pretty sparse on the rules and arena. The arena seems to be "everywhere" and the rules are "all-out battle" which sounds like anything valid under the rules of PFRPG goes.

Further down the page in post 27 you add

Yoshu Uhsoy wrote:

88000 just like a normal 20th level character

no teleporting out of the arena by the way and no gating in either. basic summons are allowed.

and obviously these wizards have never met a good range lance pounce barb in the beginning of combat before they put up all their buffs.

Now there is an arena, and you cannot gate or teleport in or out of it. The size of the arena is not defined. There appears to be no limitation on monsters summoned via the Summon Monster/Summon Nature's Ally and related spells. No word on Planar Binding/Planar Ally line of spells.

On page two in post 67 you add:

Yoshu Uhsoy wrote:


Obviously everyone ignored the rule about You are not allowed to leave the arena at all. also I said you can not gate things in. I said only normal summons would be aloud and I am pretty sure a Harbinger Daemon spawn as your body does not count as a normal summon. Plus Arkalion would die before he even managed to do all this. I said everyone enters un buffed. This wizard would probably not even complete a quarter of his buffs before an angry barbarian ripped him to shreds while he is medidtating.

In this post, you have retconed your previous posts and added an additional limitation that everyone enters the arena unbuffed.

Further down in post 72 you add

Yoshu Uhsoy wrote:

In the first place why would a demigod/demon help you.

"Although I already said they are not allowed due to they are not a normal summon.

To classify what I mean by normal summon: Anything that you can summon using "summon monster X". levels 1-9. No half god demon things.

Which clarifies that only Summon Monster I-IX is a valid summon. No word on things that can be summoned by Summon Nature's Ally or anything that is not able to be summoned by Summon Monster IX, but is in one of the related Summon Z series of spells like

Summon Ancestral Guardian
Summon Cacodaemon
Summon Ceustodaemon
Summon Derghodaemon
Summon Eidolon
Summon Elder Worm
Summon Erodaemon
Summon Flight of Eagles
Summon Froghemoth
Summon Genie
Summon Giant Ally
Summon Infernal Host
Summon Instrument
Summon Kami
Summon Laborers
Summon Lesser Psychopomp
Summon Meladaemon
Summon Minor Ally
Summon Minor Monster
Summon Stampede
Summon Swarm
Summon Thanadaemon
Summon Totem Creature
Summon Vanth

In post 78 you add some additional limitations on what "gear" constitutes in response to Anzyr.

Yoshu Uhsoy wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
Yoshu Uhsoy wrote:
Obviously everyone ignored the rule about You are not allowed to leave the arena at all. also I said you can not gate things in. I said only normal summons would be aloud and I am pretty sure a Harbinger Daemon spawn as your body does not count as a normal summon. Plus Arkalion would die before he even managed to do all this. I said everyone enters un buffed. This wizard would probably not even complete a quarter of his buffs before an angry barbarian ripped him to shreds while he is medidtating.
Your opening post does not contain those rules. Furthermore, the daemon is not a summon. It was produced by a Simulacrum Drakainia's Birth Spawn ability and possessed. Since Arkalion is in the body 24/7, he would arrive at the arena in that body and his presently empty body which is not "him" at the moment would be left behind. At that point, no buffs are really needed. If other people show up geared for combat, I see no reason he would not be as well (note that he gears up his Daemon form for combat).

I am pretty sure daemon forms are not gear.

Here is the definition of gear:

informal
equipment that is used for a particular purpose.
synonyms: equipment, apparatus, paraphernalia, articles, appliances, impedimenta; More

A harbinger is not a piece of equipment.

La dee doo dee da I am just going to march down to the store and pick up a harbinger. What are you doing today?

In post 88. You add an additional prohibition on the use of Wish.

Yoshu Uhsoy wrote:
Mathius wrote:

While the deamon body is very powerful it is hardly need for this build. It just helps to be in a differnt

Mindblank will always be up. Cast timestop when you go first. If the areana has stone in change into an earth elemental and move inside of it. Cast MMM inside the rock and enter it.

If that does not work just hide in rock and buff yourself there.

What stops him from polymorphing any object into the body he wants and taking it over that way? With a small statue of the thing the body lasts for an hour.

He can wish in a planatar or other powerful body and take it that way.

The part that takes the longest is transferring the gear to the new body.

Also realize that Anzyr is argue the extreme case so that rules can be changed to make more sense. As it is he can actually build the body in the arena in short order.

If he can not make a new body he use wish to cast greater planar bind and make allies to fight for him that way. Use Dim lock and just forget the circle. Win the check and order them to kill everything in the arena that is not the caster or his ally.

YOU CAN NOT TELEPORT, GATE, WISH OR ANY OTHER FORM OF BRINGING EXTRA PLANAR BEINGS INTO THE ARENA. DOES ANYONE LISTEN. PLZ READ THE PREVIOUS POSTS BEFORE PPOSTING. thank you.

[/rant]

This also appears to prevent one from using Summon Monster IX to summon an extra-planar being, but I'll assume you meant to say that Summon Monster X creatures are still okay.

In post 89 you add some information on what the ground is made of, what materials are present, and what flora is present.

Yoshu Uhsoy wrote:
The arena is floor is made of grass and. It is like a forest with tons of trees. The only stone you can get is from small rocks.

In Post 103 you add some dimensions to the arena, which has now gone from "all of reality" to a much smaller space. You have clarified again that only Summon Monster I-IX and eidolons work. Druids and other users of Summon Nature's Ally are out of luck it seems. You also add some more geography and flora information about the arena and then stipulate that the arena cannot be escaped from, similar to Ravenloft.

Yoshu Uhsoy wrote:

Going underground is technically legal within the rules. Although cheesy, it works. You can only go 50ft down and 200 ft up otherwise it counts as leaving the arena though.

The arena is 1 sq mile.

Yes. Dragons can not be summoned into the arena. As Darksol said only summon monster 1-9 and Eidolons work.

The ground is grass and there are a bunch of trees. Like a forest

In addition there are small rivers and streams in the arena. The deepest being only a few feet.

And there is no possible escape from the arena.

@Mathius although you could earth glide down and make a hallow, do not forget that Monks have a feather fall ability also.

So, as you can see, there have been lots of clarifications, restrictions, and additions to the rules. I stand by my suggestion that everyone wait until you have finished defining your rules, restrictions, and any other limitations before continuing the discussion, so we can all have a common point of reference and understanding to work from.


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thejeff wrote:

*snip*

And the thing is, they're largely right about this part. It's far better for the developers to be focused on making the game work for the new or casual* player than for the hard-core types. The hardcore types can take care of themselves, find 3pp options, house rule things or otherwise work around it. The more casual ones can't. Or won't. And likely won't stick around long enough to try.
The problem with PF (and 3.x in general) is that it was designed for system mastery to be a big thing at the same time it was designed to work for casual play. It's really hard to have both with letting the system masters break things.
If you're playing in that kind of more casual group the caster/martial issue still kicks in eventually, but it's delayed until higher levels and most campaigns don't go to the high levels.

*I kind of object to the term "casual" here, but don't have a better one that isn't defined negatively. Suffice to say that there are also players who may be very serious about rpgs, but focus more on the roleplaying and character concept without caring much about system mastery.

The thing is, and I've written about this before, the game is extremely difficult and unwelcoming to new players if you do not have a more experienced person to guide you through things. From things I've said previously, and I apologize in advance for the walls of text.

Caedwyr wrote:

As someone who has gotten into D&D around the beginning of Pathfinder, all of the unspoken assumptions just drive me up the wall. It's like there is a giant elephant in the corner of the room and all of the oldtimers and developers act like it isn't there at all and even get upset if you mention it. This game has a huge amount of pitfalls that the more experienced players navigate around without even thinking about.

This really makes the game difficult to pick up and I've had a number of people who expressed interest in trying out the game give up on it because in their words "the game isn't even remotely balanced and I'd rather not waste my time on such a flawed system". Of course, this typically means we end up not playing and TTRPG and so I'm left disappointed we can't play the game together. That said, I'm pretty sympathetic to this point of view. Part of the fun in playing with a mechanical system and not a game of imagination is being able to find cool combinations and being inspired by the system. Part of the appeal of a system like D&D or Pathfinder is the breadth of the system and all the different character archetypes you can potentially create. That the game doesn't actually live up to what it claims it does leaves a pretty bad taste in the mouth.

Also, the other thing that drove my group up the wall was the very poor consistency in rules language. This is a game, not an imagination book. Games have their own structures and rules language. Pathfinder and D&D in general appear to have been written with almost no effort to creating consistent language for rules. It's like every time someone comes up with an idea, they just write up some new rules for it rather than looking to see if something similar has already been done. It reminds me of the old "engineer designed programs" which have an extra toggle switch, an extra menu option, or an extra entry field instead of trying to create any sort of unified UI or any sort of design pass to make sure they aren't duplicating a function in a way that is 99% the same.

Sorry for the rant, but as a newer player who has tried but failed to pick up the game several times, the denials that the game rules are unfriendly to new players (and not just the length) really looks like the old boys club sticking their head in the sand.

This rant also ignores the atrocious layout/organization of the books, which make sense for someone who has been playing for 20 years, but not so much for a new player. The beginner's box made an attempt to clean things up, but good luck having a chance of picking up the game without lots of mistakes if you try to switch to the CRB.

Caedwyr wrote:

I like imagination games. They are a lot of fun. However, one of the pitfalls that comes up in these games, is without a proper framework you end up having to rely on the personal balancing skill of the Teamaster/GM rather than allowing the Teamaster/GM to provide scenarios and in-world responses to the player's actions. It makes for a huge burden on the GM, and makes it extremely daunting for a new group. Our original plan was for rotating GMs, but all of the gentleman agreements and balancing the game offloads onto the GM means that people without a strong sense of balance and understanding of how the game functions cannot do the GM role. Or they feel extra stressed out. This has the unfortunate effect of in our situation preventing some of the more creative people from feeling like they can participate in the GM role and makes the GM role feel more like work. The GM has to spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on balancing the game mechanics and fixing problems from the game rules rather than spending that time on crafting cool scenarios and characters. In other game systems (board games, CPRGS, card games) the rules are well understood and following the rules is the responsibility of the entire group.

One attraction of TTRPGs is the freedom to do things that the rules/computers don't anticipate and having a GM there to adjudicate. The problem is how frequently it isn't something that arises for an odd edge case or corner case, but fundamental aspects of the game design.

I want to be able to be inspired by a movie or a story and to have a game framework that lets me play out an alternate storyline in one of those settings with a group of friends. What I have gotten instead is a system that requires almost as much work on the part of the GM in balancing everything rather than just spending their time with helping the story along and coming up with awesome plot twists as the GM works through what might be happening out of the eyes of the players.

Caedwyr wrote:

Ever watched a movie and said "well, why don't they just do X obvious solution to their problem?" That's the problem with the APs. The game gives you a set of abilities and capabilities and most APs can't deal with what the game provides when someone with even a modicum of problem solving skills and no blinders/gentleman agreements. In which place, why are we playing this imagination game when the rules are heavy, inconsistent and can't even tell the story you want to tell without lots of unwritten assumptions. It wouldn't be so bad if the developers explicitly called out stuff that won't work or things that will need to be removed to work, but it is very rare that they take that step. Even more irritatingly, they will frequently act as though the problem doesn't exist, or it is some sort of personal failing on the player's part if such a problem arises.

Like I ranted above, this makes the game very new player unfriendly and presents an unwelcoming old-boy's club for the community of players who play the game.

Essentially, I was a new player at the beginning of Pathfinder. I was really into it, purchased lots of books, found a group of friends who were willing to try things out. But the system defeated us. The burden on the GM to prevent the basic mechanics of the system not fall apart is extremely high, which leaves less time for coming up with cool stories and scenarios. The Beginners Box is a step in the right direction, but as soon as you progress beyond it you start running into all sorts of problems. Even with the Beginner's Box there are still all sorts of unstated assumptions baked into the system.

As for something like PFS, a quick look at the threads on this forum and the attitude of the PFS GMs will show an incredibly unappealing 'my way or the highway' approach. There's lots of "expect table variation" for what appears to be straightforward mechanics of things that aren't even disruptive to the rest of the group.

So, the TLDR, is if Paizo intended to make the game easy and approachable for new/casual players, they are not succeeding. There are so many unwritten assumptions and conventions that experienced players aren't even aware they follow that the new player will be entirely ignorant of that they can easily derail a game or get it bogged down in confusion over the rules. I really hope there is a cleanup of the rules whenever a Pathfinder 2.0 comes out, because I really like the potential of the system.


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Claxon wrote:

Well, I've come to the conclusion....Just kill them. That is the best your going to get.

Hopefully you have some sort of daemon familiar that will eat it's soul so it can never come back.

There needs to be like an antimagic collar like the a'dam from the wheel of time.

Depending on the caster's level, it can be better to keep the caster unconscious rather than dead, as dead could trigger a clone to activate or some other way of coming back from death. Then again, incapacitation could be a trigger for some of the caster's contingency... so you really need to have done your research or have multiple redundancies in your methods of restraining the caster. At lower levels, this is going to be less of an issue.


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LazarX wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
People have been begging Paizo to errata the simulacrum spell since Pathfinder was still in the playtesting stage -- even some of the most rabid fanboys have started threads specifically for that purpose. Paizo has consistently refused to do so.

I don't think they need to. I'm of the opinion that I can tie my shoelaces without waiting for Paizo approval to do so.

There are GMs perfectly happy with the spells as they are. Other GMs like PFS, simply ban it. Others like myself, modify it as needed on a campaign by campaign basis. Freedom of Choice.

Following this design philosophy is a good way to make the game unfriendly to new players/GMs and groups who do not have a bunch of experienced experts to guide them through it. You'd think that they'd want to at least include a sidebar alerting GMs to the issues the spell might cause and ways they might want to help control those issues. Maybe the lack of that information is a deliberate form of gatekeeping, but it's a decision I continue to be surprised that a business intentionally makes since it limits their playerbase. Note that this doesn't just apply to the Simulacrum spell, it shows up in lots of other areas of the game.

To the OP, if you want a list of how crazy you can get with the spell, check out the Standard Level 20 Wizard thread for some zaniness.


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leo1925 wrote:
Blakmane wrote:


To be fair, that's the longest bait rant I've read in a while, so kudos there.
From me also.

I am a little disappointed it didn't manage to include the bit about katanas cutting through tanks as an example of martial superiority.


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Liz Courts wrote:


Usability
This looks like many a BBEG sanctum, and that's always useful to keep handy. It would easy to be recreate on a Flip-Mat—except for that floor design.

Actually, the floor design would be extremely easy to reproduce for a flip mat, since it would have been generated by following a specific set of steps for drawing arcs/circles/lines and then colouring in certain areas based on the patterns. I drew lots of stuff like this when I was 9-10 years old and they are surprisingly easy to do once you know the procedure.

Something to keep in mind if you want to spice up your BBEG sanctum flip mats.


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It isn't Paizo, but all of the 4 dollar dungeons are very well crafted adventures that taken together cover most of the various adventure types. They are also all highly detailed and contain about 99% of the material you need in order to be able to run them without any other resources.


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Congratulations Richard. I'm glad to hear that so many people have picked this up. All of the 4 Dollar Dungeons sound like excellent adventures and I will check them out when I am in a position to run a game again.


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James Jacobs wrote:

My favorite one to point out as a way to combat folks who get too wrapped up in applying the rules PRECISELY AS WRITTEN is this:

Being dead does not make you fall prone.

Fortunately the game is run by people who are capable of applying common sense and logic to things, and so when you die you do fall down, and so you CAN see the moon despite its distance.

That said...

I'm also amused whenever someone gives the Run feat to monsters without legs. ;P

As an amusing corollary to this with respect to being dead not preventing a player from taking actions, is that the Great Beyond's section on the life-cycle of a soul presents some good evidence that a player could be allowed to take actions for what their soul does/experiences while traveling from their location to Pharsma's realm via the astral realm.

There's some interesting games that could start with a TPK instead of the group meeting in a tavern.


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I actually wasn't thinking about the Deathless and non-open content (which I didn't know about, since I came to D&D around the time of the Pathfinder Alpha), but instead was referring to things like the morality of creating Golems vs undead and the various inconsistencies pointed out in Tactic Lion's and Ashiel's very long posts.

Anyways, thanks for the responses and the peek behind the screen.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
As written, yeah, creating golems should be an evil act. I would prefer instead to revise them away from using soul enslavement to power them up, frankly... but it is what it is. House Rule as you wish.
So, for the obvious follow-up question, why Flavour errata in one case (making all published undead options evil), but not for the other (golems should not use enslaved elemental souls/creating a golem should be evil)?
Because that's how previous designers of the game did it, and because we were too timid about backwards compatibility to change it.

Sure, but previous designers also included non-evil undead and Paizo has gone on to change most of them to be always evil in Golarion. This isn't levied as a criticism of the game, setting, or designers. I'm truly curious about the behind-the-scenes decision-making process.

From what you've posted, it sounds like the always-evil undead position was something that had stronger internal proponents of the concept and the issues around Golems/elemental souls or other areas were not topics that received as much attention or had people arguing as strongly for.


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LazarX wrote:
A game mechanic is not automatically a "bad idea" just because someone can bend an extreme corner interpretation of the RAW text to get a result that's clearly spelled out as not intended in the context of the whole.

Or if it is an entirely valid interpretation of of the text as written that a new player could read and not realize that Paizo meant something entirely different.


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Since the discussion has turned more to the game design, I figured it might be useful to repost some observations/rants I made in another thread from the perspective of someone who started playing D&D around the time of Pathfinder's Alpha and how newbie unfriendly the game actually is if you don't have someone more experienced doing the heavy lifting of introducing the game to you.

Caedwyr wrote:

As someone who has gotten into D&D around the beginning of Pathfinder, all of the unspoken assumptions just drive me up the wall. It's like there is a giant elephant in the corner of the room and all of the oldtimers and developers act like it isn't there at all and even get upset if you mention it. This game has a huge amount of pitfalls that the more experienced players navigate around without even thinking about.

This really makes the game difficult to pick up and I've had a number of people who expressed interest in trying out the game give up on it because in their words "the game isn't even remotely balanced and I'd rather not waste my time on such a flawed system". Of course, this typically means we end up not playing any TTRPG and so I'm left disappointed we can't play the game together. That said, I'm pretty sympathetic to this point of view. Part of the fun in playing with a mechanical system and not a game of imagination is being able to find cool combinations and being inspired by the system. Part of the appeal of a system like D&D or Pathfinder is the breadth of the system and all the different character archetypes you can potentially create. That the game doesn't actually live up to what it claims it does leaves a pretty bad taste in the mouth.

Also, the other thing that drove my group up the wall was the very poor consistency in rules language. This is a game, not an imagination book. Games have their own structures and rules language. Pathfinder and D&D in general appear to have been written with almost no effort to creating consistent language for rules. It's like every time someone comes up with an idea, they just write up some new rules for it rather than looking to see if something similar has already been done. It reminds me of the old "engineer designed programs" which have an extra toggle switch, an extra menu option, or an extra entry field instead of trying to create any sort of unified UI or any sort of design pass to make sure they aren't duplicating a function in a way that is 99% the same.

Sorry for the rant, but as a newer player who has tried but failed to pick up the game several times, the denials that the game rules are unfriendly to new players (and not just the length) really looks like the old boys club sticking their head in the sand.

This rant also ignores the atrocious layout/organization of the books, which make sense for someone who has been playing for 20 years, but not so much for a new player. The beginner's box made an attempt to clean things up, but good luck having a chance of picking up the game without lots of mistakes if you try to switch to the CRB.

And a follow-up comment:

Me wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
As someone who has gotten into D&D around the beginning of Pathfinder, all of the unspoken assumptions just drive me up the wall. It's like there is a giant elephant in the corner of the room and all of the oldtimers and developers act like it isn't there at all and even get upset if you mention it. This game has a huge amount of pitfalls that the more experienced players navigate around without even thinking about.

That's some valuable feedback, thanks for sharing. It sounds like you want in black and white some of the more common interpretations / house rules. My concern would be that if that was done, and let's say a new version (Pathfinder 2,) I believe the same kind of arguments or issues would then crop up from that new baseline.

I'll use an exaggerated example here. Should the CRB have to say something like "While it might be easy to acquire a lot of gear quickly by killing merchant NPCs (or perhaps your comrades,) you shouldn't do that?"

I'd be curious to see, from your point of view, what a few of these unspoken assumptions are though.

Caedwyr wrote:
This is a game, not an imagination book.

Ah, but it is an imagination book. Every rule, every bit of descriptive text, every part of the book is designed with the goal of allowing you to imagine a character adventuring in another world.

Based on your separation of these two, you seem to have a lot of disdain for "imagination books." Why? Do you feel that if there is not a concrete rule for something, then the game loses its value?

Obviously the Game Master is meant to handle some of these situations, but if you feel that a Game Master having to make a ruling or wing it causes the game to not be as fun, I would suggest that a different rule set would work much better for you.

And I don't mean that in the dismissive "go play something else" manner, I mean that the game is literally designed around the concept that there will be a GM in place handling these things.

To the second point first. I like imagination games. They are a lot of fun. However, one of the pitfalls that comes up in these games, is without a proper framework you end up having to rely on the personal balancing skill of the Teamaster/GM rather than allowing the Teamaster/GM to provide scenarios and in-world responses to the player's actions. It makes for a huge burden on the GM, and makes it extremely daunting for a new group. Our original plan was for rotating GMs, but all of the gentleman agreements and balancing the game offloads onto the GM means that people without a strong sense of balance and understanding of how the game functions cannot do the GM role. Or they feel extra stressed out. This has the unfortunate effect of in our situation preventing some of the more creative people from feeling like they can participate in the GM role and makes the GM role feel more like work. The GM has to spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on balancing the game mechanics and fixing problems from the game rules rather than spending that time on crafting cool scenarios and characters. In other game systems (board games, CPRGS, card games) the rules are well understood and following the rules is the responsibility of the entire group.

One attraction of TTRPGs is the freedom to do things that the rules/computers don't anticipate and having a GM there to adjudicate. The problem is how frequently it isn't something that arises for an odd edge case or corner case, but fundamental aspects of the game design.

I want to be able to be inspired by a movie or a story and to have a game framework that lets me play out an alternate storyline in one of those settings with a group of friends. What I have gotten instead is a system that requires almost as much work on the part of the GM in balancing everything rather than just spending their time with helping the story along and coming up with awesome plot twists as the GM works through what might be happening out of the eyes of the players.

The thing is, Kirthfinder is a great example of how a lot of the problems can be cleared up. Rule language can be harmonized and more universal mechanics/wordings can be used. This means that players only need to learn things once and keeps the complexity and confusion over rules down. All classes can be built on the same power curve and have the same opportunity to parcipate in all parts of the story throughout their careers. Creating a multi-class character concept, or a character concept that draws from a diverse range of talents can be done without punishing the player (greater freedom of imagination!). The issues I have with Kirthfinder is that it is probably way to dense in options for a good game for beginners and there are still issues with how it is organized (since it was based on the CRB organization structure). There's also missing pieces where it refers to the CRB. It also means that if I play it, I'm limited to a small group of personal friends and I can't go out and expect others to know how to play it.

I've looked at other game systems like Gurps, D&D4th Ed, D&D5th Ed and a few others, but they are either too rule heavy and fiddly with pointless minutae that bog things down, or are too restrictive in their structure or limiting in the imagination and stories you can effectively tell. Or they have as bad or worse balance/role viability issues.

And a final follow-up

Me wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:


Ideally, the imagination stuff and the rules are mutually reinforcing -- that is, playing by the rules as written leads to exactly the kind of imaginary stories you're trying to create. The old Victory Games 007 rules were the best at that I've ever seen -- a lot of the rules, upon reading them, were apparently nonsensical or even asinine, but if you followed them, game play almost inexorably had the "feel" of a James Bond movie.

Pathfinder is sort of the opposite -- the rules don't actually support the kinds of stories that the APs are trying to tell. As a result, it's a lot of extra work to get them to mesh, and in some cases that's detrimental to the immersion (the level of railroading that's needed in some of the APs goes beyond anything that a lot of people are comfortable with, for example).

Ever watched a movie and said "well, why don't they just do X obvious solution to their problem?" That's the problem with the APs. The game gives you a set of abilities and capabilities and most APs can't deal with what the game provides when someone with even a modicum of problem solving skills and no blinders/gentleman agreements. In which place, why are we playing this imagination game when the rules are heavy, inconsistent and can't even tell the story you want to tell without lots of unwritten assumptions. It wouldn't be so bad if the developers explicitly called out stuff that won't work or things that will need to be removed to work, but it is very rare that they take that step. Even more irritatingly, they will frequently act as though the problem doesn't exist, or it is some sort of personal failing on the player's part if such a problem arises.

Like I ranted above, this makes the game very new player unfriendly and presents an unwelcoming old-boy's club for the community of players who play the game.

So, the long and the short of it is, the game is hard enough to get into for new players given the size of the rulebook and the organization. On top of that, you have to deal with loads of traps and additional work to balance the game and keep things from falling apart. This is extra hard when your whole group is completely new to the game and doesn't know all the "obvious" things to do to balance the game. Rules are written with little to no wording standardization and a review of the forum thread/FAQ shows that something might be intended to work or not when the meaning appears to be the same, but the wording is just slightly different. All of this together means that a new GM is going to be overwhelmed quickly and they will spend most of their time dealing with balancing/rule issues and not acting as the creative person helming the game.


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Ashiel wrote:
Zhangar wrote:
And people wonder why Mark's the only dev team member that even bothers talking to the message boards. =P

Nobody ever wants to take credit for starting the fire. I've found this to be a very bad policy when making rules however. When you cannot explain or justify the why, you must expect people to assume the worst. It's human nature.

Maybe if the rules team actually did something crazy like discuss the rules, why they wanted to change them, and so forth, people would be more receptive. However lately it looks like they don't actually care about the game anymore and haven't even cracked open their own books since the FAQs are an utterly disgusting mess.

When you don't interact with your community other than to release questionable changes, often with no apparent reason, how else do you expect to be perceived?

Mark actually did some great community engagement in the ACG errata threads right after they came out. I noticed that the tone in the threads was much calmer and more accepting of some of the changes after Mark explained the reasoning behind them.


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CWheezy wrote:
LazarX wrote:


For you, doesn't that usually translate into "Gold mine for corner interpretations of rules I need to work out?"

Did you really come into this thread only to attack ravingdork? Do you have a personal vendetta against him?

It's okay. He gets a free pass at such things.


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This thread seems to be in the wrong forum, since the discussion is related to PFS.


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Commoners are OP. Look at my Balor/Commoner 1 stat block which totally proves this point. =p


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How does this book compare to Pact Magic Unbound with respect to the spirit calling and making pacts with outsiders?


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Tormsskull wrote:

Thanks for providing the list.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
This means that you don't save up explosive runes traps, and you don't use armies of simulacra, and you don't send planar bound critters to do all the fighting -- because gentlemen just don't do those things.

This always fell under the "anything you can do, the GM can do better angle." When I GM, I always make sure to tell the players "No matter how powerful you get, there will always be one or more enemies/NPCs that are more powerful than you. Always."

With that understanding, sure you can try to send an army of simulacra, but that guy that's more powerful than you probably has a bigger army of simulacra.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
(3) If casters forget the first two rules, the DM's job is to remind them. Arbitrarily add restrictions or drawbacks to spells, or threaten out-of-rules consequences for using them, or, in extreme cases, declare outright that every dungeon is in an antimagic field.

I guess it depends on what you mean by out-of-rules consequences. Is "the enemies/NPCs can use your same tactics against you" out-of-rules consequences?

These two are pretty much exactly the Gentleman's agreement that Kirth is talking about. The response to the GM saying "if you do X, then NPCs will do X" in a balanced rule set should be "sure, I expect as much", not "oh no, now the game will be ruined". Pathfinder doesn't stand up to NPC casters making full use of their capabilities, and hence the system of Gentleman agreements referenced earlier in the thread.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:

Ideally, the imagination stuff and the rules are mutually reinforcing -- that is, playing by the rules as written leads to exactly the kind of imaginary stories you're trying to create. The old Victory Games 007 rules were the best at that I've ever seen -- a lot of the rules, upon reading them, were apparently nonsensical or even asinine, but if you followed them, game play almost inexorably had the "feel" of a James Bond movie.

Pathfinder is sort of the opposite -- the rules don't actually support the kinds of stories that the APs are trying to tell. As a result, it's a lot of extra work to get them to mesh, and in some cases that's detrimental to the immersion (the level of railroading that's needed in some of the APs goes beyond anything that a lot of people are comfortable with, for example).

Ever watched a movie and said "well, why don't they just do X obvious solution to their problem?" That's the problem with the APs. The game gives you a set of abilities and capabilities and most APs can't deal with what the game provides when someone with even a modicum of problem solving skills and no blinders/gentleman agreements. In which place, why are we playing this imagination game when the rules are heavy, inconsistent and can't even tell the story you want to tell without lots of unwritten assumptions. It wouldn't be so bad if the developers explicitly called out stuff that won't work or things that will need to be removed to work, but it is very rare that they take that step. Even more irritatingly, they will frequently act as though the problem doesn't exist, or it is some sort of personal failing on the player's part if such a problem arises.

Like I ranted above, this makes the game very new player unfriendly and presents an unwelcoming old-boy's club for the community of players who play the game.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As someone who has gotten into D&D around the beginning of Pathfinder, all of the unspoken assumptions just drive me up the wall. It's like there is a giant elephant in the corner of the room and all of the oldtimers and developers act like it isn't there at all and even get upset if you mention it. This game has a huge amount of pitfalls that the more experienced players navigate around without even thinking about.

This really makes the game difficult to pick up and I've had a number of people who expressed interest in trying out the game give up on it because in their words "the game isn't even remotely balanced and I'd rather not waste my time on such a flawed system". Of course, this typically means we end up not playing and TTRPG and so I'm left disappointed we can't play the game together. That said, I'm pretty sympathetic to this point of view. Part of the fun in playing with a mechanical system and not a game of imagination is being able to find cool combinations and being inspired by the system. Part of the appeal of a system like D&D or Pathfinder is the breadth of the system and all the different character archetypes you can potentially create. That the game doesn't actually live up to what it claims it does leaves a pretty bad taste in the mouth.

Also, the other thing that drove my group up the wall was the very poor consistency in rules language. This is a game, not an imagination book. Games have their own structures and rules language. Pathfinder and D&D in general appear to have been written with almost no effort to creating consistent language for rules. It's like every time someone comes up with an idea, they just write up some new rules for it rather than looking to see if something similar has already been done. It reminds me of the old "engineer designed programs" which have an extra toggle switch, an extra menu option, or an extra entry field instead of trying to create any sort of unified UI or any sort of design pass to make sure they aren't duplicating a function in a way that is 99% the same.

Sorry for the rant, but as a newer player who has tried but failed to pick up the game several times, the denials that the game rules are unfriendly to new players (and not just the length) really looks like the old boys club sticking their head in the sand.

This rant also ignores the atrocious layout/organization of the books, which make sense for someone who has been playing for 20 years, but not so much for a new player. The beginner's box made an attempt to clean things up, but good luck having a chance of picking up the game without lots of mistakes if you try to switch to the CRB.


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Paul Bunyan = Anime.


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Yeah, the high level characters are mostly in the Silmarillion. The old school elves were pretty hardcore in what they did and Pathfinder doesn't do that great of a job replicating their feats.

The Quenta Silmarillion in fact was rejected by a publisher for being "obscure and too Celtic", and the power level in these stories would fit in fine with many other Celtic myth cycles.


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I'm looking at the fabricate spell more closely, and I'm wondering actually what limits are placed on what can be targeted with the spell. The spell appears to target a mass of material equal to 10 cu ft/level (or 1 cu ft/level if a mineral, which I'm not sure if uses the real-world definition of mineral or uses an undefined game version), but doesn't say that the mass of material cannot be part of another object already, except that it cannot be a creature or magic item. This makes me think that a caster could just walk up to the adamantine doors, and unless they were a magical item, just cast fabricate on the doors to create themselves some weapons or simple to make items as well as remove the doors as an obstacle. They can also potentially do that to walls, floors, ceilings, and many other potential obstacles. Aside from GM fiat, does anyone see anything in the rules/mechanics that would prevent this? Or, is this just another capability that comes online once level 5 spells become available and the types of obstacles that cease to be for parties with a member able to cast these spells?


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The argument about the difficulty and time it takes to work adamantium, is somewhat lessened by the existence of the fabricate spell.


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4 dollar dungeons I think have a 1e feel. They certainly seem to be in-depth and comprehensive and all have reviewed well.


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I've had a chance to look through this in more depth and I continue to be impressed. This is a $30+ sourcebook full of ideas and a very fun sword and planets space-opera style setting and rules to run it. It would be a shame if more people didn't take the chance to check it out. I keep on coming back to how well this would let you play a Star Ocean, Xenogears, or other planetary romance-style games.


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Thanks for the review Endzeitgeist. This sounds like a really cool fusion of sci-fi and fantasy that reminds me a bit of the Star Ocean or Xenosaga series of games in how it blends fantasy with space opera. You can't beat the price either.


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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Geisha's inspire ability was originally supposed to last longer (an hour, I think), but someone else felt that was too long and reduced it to 10 minutes. Which makes the ability kinda pointless, honestly.

@Sean: I really appreciate the insights into the design process. I was always confused by the discrepancies between some of the things you'd written about design methodology/recommendations the design approaches taken in a number of Paizo works which seemed to go against what you'd written. In retrospect, it makes a lot more sense that the different cooks in the kitchen would have different opinions on matters, but with you being the public face for many rule/mechanics issue and a very fierce arguer on their behalf it was hard at times to keep that distinction in my mind.


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One thing I found interesting is how both classes presented in this book work just as well on land as in the water.


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Four Dollar Dungeons wrote:

Ultimate PSionics (http://dreamscarredpress.com/dragonfly/Store/product/pid=126.html) is very good and I'm incorporating it in my next adventure.

The Mythic Monsters series (http://www.makeyourgamelegendary.com/products-page/mythic-plug-ins/) are also very good and I intend to use them later on next year in a mythic-themed adventure.

Richard

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with these materials, as your adventures to date have been works of art.


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Here are the criteria I like to use when evaluating a new class:

First off, these questions should be asked for the major level ranges (feel free to modify slightly).

Journeyman: 1-5
Heroic: 6-10
Champion: 11-15
Demi-god: 16-20

And on to the questions:

Can the class contribute meaningfully in:

1. Combat - This includes level appropriate:

a. defenses against physical and magical attacks
b. offensive capability; or
c. a way of enhancing party members such that they would realistically choose to have you accompany them
d. ability to engage with the threats in the environments you can expect to be fighting in for that level.

2. Investigations/information gathering
3. Travel
4. Diplomacy/social interactions with other denizens of the world.
5. Economic (crafting, professions, bartering, or other wealth-generating activities).

The 5 areas don't all need to be filled, but the class should be able to participate or have decent options for participating or contributing meaningfully in all categories without crippling themselves in other categories.


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If you are looking for a full adventure path, then Way of the Wicked is one of the better ones (though not for heroes)

If you are looking for smaller adventures or short linked adventures, then you might want to check out the reviews here. There may also be some full APs here that I'm not aware of:

Endzeitgeist's reviews.

Make sure to click on the "older Entries" button at the bottom for more.

I'll let others mention their favourites


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So, first off, I mean, don't just report the results of how your group did, because that is going to have all the usual problems with luck/lack of luck with the dice, but instead look at each of the parts of the scenario/module that interact or can interact with the mechanics you are testing and report what the odds of success are whenever a dice roll is called for with the builds you are using. They should also report if the class is able to significantly participate in the check or if they cannot.

The testers should also report where the new mechanics allow them to interact with the story, places where the GM had to fudge things a little to make them fit (this can be great anecdotal data to help flesh out examples in ability descriptions or maybe add another example on a table of possible skill uses).

Other useful data points are going to be how much a class depends on the other group members, are there any large achilles heels in the class or blindspots and to what degree the class is able to offer something new to the box of tools used for problem solving.

This is a rough framework and I'm sure it can be refined to be much better at organizing the questions/data collection, but it should also help minimize the usual issues of playtesting where the developers get a lot of unbalanced or misleading data or just less useful data because there's the guy who can make the commoner shine or the guy who can make the greatest blending of flavour and mechanics ever seem to be boring.

As for the simulated part, that is there because to do the mechanics heavy part of this analysis, you don't really need other people present. You can look at the target AC, saving throws, skill checks, range of skills required in the module and compare them against the sample build being used for testing the class. But, by comparing it to published modules you are working from a comparable baseline and it puts it into the language of the developers rather than the theorycrafters. Using the module also helps calibrate the theorycrafting because it lets the theories be put to the test of an actual module and helps refine the models used in the theorycrafting.

This is basically a stream of consciousness description of what I was thinking, but it roughly lines up with the evaluation/playtesting method used by some reviewers

Endzeitgeist wrote:

Step 1: I read the pdf/book. If the content is no utter wreck, I take the content with me to my group. At this stage, I usually have a dry analysis (avg damage, utility, etc.) done. Here, I do have target values – if you can out-nova psionics or sorcerors, there’s an issue, for example.

Step 2: If we’re NOT playing my main campaign, each player chooses one of the classes to playtest. S/he generates a character. I then proceed to run these characters through a module I wanted to playtest. I do this mainly because I think that scenarios à la “class xyz fights dragon in vacuum” do not represent how a class actually plays. Such tests provide an inkling, yes, but that’s about it. (See nova-issues et al.) Also: What fun is playing e.g. a super-duper-damage class that can’t do anything but squishing foes?

Step 3: I compare how the class fared with my analysis and ask my players how they experienced the class, both the player of the class and the rest.

Step 4 (optional): If all players agree that a certain content might benefit the main campaign, it is added for further in-depth playtesting. So yeah, that’s about it.

Why do I prefer this type of tests? Take IG’s Ethermancer – looked complex on paper, math was very hard to do, all day casting -> wasn’t sold. In actual game-play, the class fared much better and proved to be actually a fun addition that did not steal the thunder of the other classes while still contributing. Now my main campaign actually has one of these guys as a PC. The actual “how does it play”-experience is most important for me.

The key for me, is if Paizo/the players can come up with some good modules to use as testing templates, then the people who like to do the step one theorycrafting can also delve into some deeper analysis and review of how the classes actually handle in a game, without having to get a group of friends together. It should help increase the highly relevant participation in the playtesting.

It would also let players test out the mechanics at a broader range of levels (this will depend heavily on the choice of level appropriate modules, no level 1 dungeon crawling at level 18) and avoid the issues where Paizo doesn't have the time, or planning needed to properly review the mechanics design at all level ranges in semi-real world settings.

Like I think I've mentioned upthread, from watching the playtests, I get the impression that most theorycrafting feedback is largely disregarded, especially when it gets more complex. By putting the feedback into the module format, it will hopefully help the players get their message to Paizo more clearly and lead to a more useful playtest for all. With proper testing methodology setup, it shouldn't really take the playertests all that much longer than a normal detailed theorycrafting post either.


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Instead of Full-Attacks, for combat I'd look at % chance of removing the target from being able to contribute to combat. You'd basically be looking at which side is able to reduce the other sides actions/round to zero first.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
I demand that ...

I stopped reading at this point. There are, in fact, people in the world who are entitled to demand things of me.

Random nerds on an internet forum aren't normally in that select company.

If it rubs against your sensibilities, try substituting the word "insist" instead of demand and reading the entire post. It isn't as nefarious as you seem to be afraid.

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