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Try to give your players information on what they will be facing up front. Example: going in the sewers? They get rumors about carrying fire or backup weapons in case they find slimes. You can have the cohort or DMPC search for rumors to give them the idea.
Have them role play an encounter with another group of adventurers (friendly competition in the future maybe?) where they talk shop and compare notes, could be fun if the players go for it.
Have bad guys use the tactics you want them to learn; ranged weapons, using potions, etc. maybe have the DMPC buy the group options, since it's not something you think about until you use it (especially if you play a lot of computer RPGs, where consumables aren't necessary much of the time).
oooh that's clever, sir gavvin! especially the familiar part ...
seems more reliable than trying to counterspell, too (unless the caster has Shield up, lol).
also a good reason to pick up the Step Up feat chain. That could be nasty on an eidolon, now i think about it ... or an animal companion maybe?
Keep it simple. Stay Druid, pick up the natural spell feat, and maybe take some teamwork feats with your animal companion. Get some ranks in stealth and maybe bluff for scouting in animal form, and talk to your cleric about spell prep.
Focus on solid buffs for both you and your party/AC, maybe take some cool damage spells too (especially for the outdoorsy bits).
Max ranks in perception.
Some thoughts :)
Okay! We have a:
Walled mining town
Do the PCs know the lizardmen have gotten inside? If not, have them find out. What do they intend to do with that knowledge?
Are the PCs agents from Cheliax? Or tied to the country in some way? Do the PCs know that the town revolted?
Maybe agents from Cheliax come to town to demand taxes!
Right now, I wouldn't have the town guard do a full search; having the guard on alert while the PCs move about will be tension enough, and restrict their actions (or at least give them pause).
What if the miners have found something really valuable in the mine? An ancient door, a rare gem, precious metal, treasure, etc.
hope this helps! :D
yeah I wouldn't stress over it, it sounds cool!
when we ran it, we had a player who was a dhampir. didn't come up much (aside from having to be careful with healing bursts :P), but:
when we got to the last book, during the final fight, our GM had the character making saves ... when she failed, she turned into a full vampire (the overwhelming necromantic energy of the place did the trick). then, she was making will saves each round to resist the urge to hunger. it gave some drama to what was otherwise a bit of a curb stomp (which tends to happen when you dimension door to the top of the tower and ignore, like, all of the badguys that are supposed to soften you up first).
you could do something similar, but at almost any point where the PCs encounter the big bads (like the end of Book 3 for example). as long as either a) the player wants to retire the character or b) there's a way to reverse it.
I guess my question is, at this point, if you find the game to be unbalanced and feel the designers don't care about fixing the problems with the game why are you still playing the game?
I don't mean this in a "if you don't like it you can get out" way, I'm honestly curious. It says to me that there is something(s) you like enough about the game that you keep coming back to it despite its flaws, that there is something that grabs you enough that you'd rather post your frustrations here than simply go play Eclipse Phase or Burning Wheel or Mutants and Masterminds or GURPS or anything White Wolf or old school D&D or Heavy Gear or Big Eyes Small Mouth or Legend of the Five Rings or ... you get the idea.
Personally, there are TONS of games I'd like to play but I keep coming back to Pathfinder because it's familiar, and it's geared towards a pretty specific style of gaming that I've (dare I say we've?) all gotten used to. Find monsters, kill monsters and take their stuff, get xp, investigate a murder, find monster responsibile, kill it and take its stuff, get xp, hear story about dungeon, go to dungeon and kill the residents and take their stuff and get xp ...
Nothing but D&D/Pathfinder quite gets that formula.
It seems that on a fairly constant basis, on this and other forums, people post talking about how X is overpowered or Y is underpowered or Z is game breaking and there are plenty of people on both sides each time. This tells me that the problem is, perhaps, less with the objective math and design of the game and more with playstyle, and that the style of game a group likes is as diverse as the number of groups playing. Even within the framework above!
In a word, "balance" is, as Stephen pointed out, a multi-faceted issue, and it will NEVER be perfect.
Even in 4e (GASP), which was built from the ground up to be balanced across all 30 levels across all classes from the get go, that tried to fix the issues from earlier editions, didn't quite succeed. There are just too many variables! People were one rounding Orcus within 2 months of release! And by going the route they did the designers inadvertently siphoned off some of the flavor built into the mechanics of earlier editions and made everyone feel more like a caster.
Which tons of poeple (myself included) enjoyed! And tons of people didn't! Because, I posit, it didn't gel with everyones playstyle. And maybe it didn't feel like D&D. Which is maybe why folks keep playing Pathfinder, trying to fix it by posting here or creating home rules (Kirth, who posted above, has an AWESOME set, by the way), instead of going to another RPG.
To get back to the OP's post, I don't think it is at all fair to say the game designers don't care about balance. I think it is legitimate to be of the opinion that the game ISN'T balanced, but with the caveat that it isn't balanced for you or your group, not necessarily in some objective way.
I guess what I'm getting at is, at what point do we have legitimate criticisms and ideas for making a better game that should be stated, and when does that go over the line into frustrated circular discussions that are probably best left alone? Do we as a community who loves this game really benefit from rehashing the old "wizards are better than fighters" argument for the 20th time? Should we house rule out spells like "simulacrum" and call it a day? Should we accept the flaws with the perks? Or should we simply take a break and play another game?
tl;dr - musings, possibly without a coherent structure
All good ideas. you can also drop them hints about Thistletop if they don't know it exists, or know that it has a ruin beneath the keep (maybe a good way to insert Brodert Quink).
Frankly, clearing that rubble would take AGES, and at a certain point one of them should (maybe with prodding) think: huh, how on earth did he get down there to see his beloved recently if its beneath all this rock? especially since we've explored every inch of this place and found no secret doors ... ?
iirc, there is no upkeep associated with organizations or buildings. just the up-front cost.
remember, however, that for every 7 days you are away from a business that doesn't have a manager (i think) your earnings go down, and once you've been away for 30 days you have to make capital attrition checks.
there also may be costs that come into play due to Downtime Events, but those are randomly generated.
OP: I agree with Deadmoon. Just make the resources available. For higher level effects, they may have to travel to Magnimar (which they will be going to anyway). If you want to inject some downtime, have the PCs wait a bit for new potions to brew and such as you see fit.
Really, the big issue is going to be money. If you don't adjust the treasure output up, with 7 players they're going to be thin on the ground before you calculate in buying wands/potions all the time. you could provide healing as treasure, however! it may feel a bit gamey, but (for instance)
in Thistletop, have some scrolls of lesser restoration or a wand with 8 or 9 charges lying around in addition to the other stuff. for dealing with the shadows and so on.
Name of PC Wesh
The party encountered Elyrium in her sanctum, and during the fight, Wesh was put to sleep. And then the nearby Sinspawn dropped a coup-de-grace on our poor fighter ...
Name of PC Meylom
The party dealt with the goblins in the thistles rather handily, and then they came to the bridge. After scoping it out, they decided the best course of action would be to charge across it in one go, so as to minimize exposure to any arrow fire from the keep.
Maybe I didn't describe it well enough, because no-one thought to search for traps, and sure enough they all go over, bridge collapses, and the only person to fail his save was the wizard.
A few rounds later, the poor guy drowned, despite his party members best efforts to dive in and save him ...
Hmmm. It seems logical that you would need some indication of who the person was beyond a vague description, especially since we're dealing with an animal.
For example, a piece of clothing for scent.
Or, you could specify a location; but the location would have to be one the animal knows.
The animal messenger spell is what you want if you're delivering to a vague person place or thing.
just my two cp
Well, the Lycanthrope template is what you're looking for: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/templates/lycanthrope
right away, RAW, this won't work because a sperm whale is a gargantuan creature, and the human dude is presumably medium :P
HOWEVER! It's your creation, so you can ignore that little rule and otherwise use the template as written.
Thus, his human form remains basically the same (just +2 wis/-2 cha). His hybrid form would be a gargantuan meld of man and whale, with the better of the stats of both. Animal form would be that of a whale.
but bear this in mind: in animal or hybrid form, w/out raging, your dude will have a strength of 40! For E6, that may be a little much. Or a lot much, depending on your crew :) Mix in DR, lots of natural armor, a ton of HP, and rage powers, and it could probably take on an entire ship single handedly without much trouble.
A lot of the posters have already hit the highlights! I especially like the wizard | alchemist (mindchemist) build, that's pretty swanky.
A bard (animal speaker) | ranger with a dire rat animal companion seems fun! Rock some sweet archery, summon rat swarms :P
Ranger | Fighter switch hitter build using the ranger sword and board combat style for early Shield Mastery, regular feats shore up will save, and fighter feats for achery/combat maneuvers/whatever.
And, I know arguments have been made re: bab and saves, but ...
what if you go fighter 1/rogue 19 | alchemist (vivsectionist) 20? I think (in theory) this nets you sneak at every level.
As Ninja in the Rye (great name btw) mentioned, you could try the old "roll equal to or lower than your statistic" method. I.E. the fighter with 18 str needs to roll 18 or less to pass strength checks, etc.
Then, you add modifiers (like what Auxmalus suggested). Something like:
The modifier applies to their ability score (so that figher trying to do a legendary feat of strength needs to roll 8 or lower, etc).
Next, get rid of opposed rolls; just set the difficulty based on the opposing party (for example, sneaking past a sleeping guard might be trivial or even automatic; sneaking past a dragon, on the other hand, might be very hard or even legendary).
And you're still rewarding players with super high stats skill wise; makes it easier to do harder and harder things as your stats increase.
If you want to reward players for playing "against type" (a low charisma wizard who wants to hold his own in most social situations), you can leave in skill feats basically as they are (the bonus would apply to their stat in those situations). Upon reaching level 10, the bonus would increase.
I don't know how different this would end up being in play, really; rates of success might work out roughly the same, but hopefully the math/paperwork is a bit easier.
Also, you can still use traits as a means of providing background bonuses; it just adds to the stat, same as the feats.
I like it! It's very cool. Not too overpowered at first blush (especially for a 7th level spell).
For the hypnotic dance part (which I think is great), I would note that it is a mind-effecting effect; also, can this effect be used in combat?
Here's another thought: what if we replace summon monster w/animate objects? still 3+int mod/day, CL equals your Mechanist level, etc. and in lieu of gate we can animate collossal objects (which you can't do until CL 32, which isn't going to happen, for the most part).
Would that make up for the stronger eidolon?
I have found my paladin to be fairly fun to play in Carrion Crown. I even went with the Undead Slayer (i think) archetype. However, aside from book 1 and book 5/6, there isn't as much undead as you might expect. /shrugs/
Also, a lot of our interactions past book 3 really did turn into "kill 'em all" encounters, but I maintain that was totally not my fault. I blame the fighter.
And we didn't really have a problem with the "talking to evil" bit:
book 5 spoilers:
When we got to Celaph (sp? the big city in book 5), we had no real leads. So we worked with the temple of pharasma (our DM didn't dick us over here, which he could have done i think; and we traded in the mace from book 4. We were paranoid enough to teleport it to another city and put it under magical protection, too) and got some divination spells cast. Like commune. Which led us straight to the tailor, and from there to the winery, bypassing a pretty heafty chunk of the book and any worry about my paladin not wanting to work with evil vampires :P
Or they can just hit you with a spell that doesn't need components, or this is when you find out that you're facing a sorcerer, not a wizard.
Idea ... if you are playing a sorcerer in a game where this is a common tactic, buying a spell component pouch is a GREAT investment. Provided your enemies don't always have super secret DM knowledge.
Although, unless whoever built the dungeon put different locks on EVERY door, once you make the key you can open other doors in the dungeon. Which seems quite fair since you cast a spell on top of making a skill check. And there still might be doors with unique locks (say to a treasure vault or the like). Plus, no evidence the lock was picked!
This is the fight that TPKed our group when we played Rise of the Runelords back in the 3.5 days. My wizard was the only survivor, and that's because he of dimension door+teleport ...
The way Mokmurian is written, he can VERY easily wreck a party. The ranges in the room are rough (you have to spend time closing to get into close range for spells, for example), and Mokmurian has things like Solid Fog to get in the way of that.
We had a team of five; favored soul, blaster sorcerer, wizard, ranger archer of doom, and i forget the last guy; great stats (generous rolled), decent gear, good spells, etc. Just as a point of comparison with your group.
Now, our group wasn't able to fully buff before fighting him (while he was), so YMMV. We also had to contend with some more of those Hounds of Thindalos things (the ones that teleport in corners); they escaped when we first encountered them and came back to murder our archer halfway through the battle.
It might not be a bad idea to have the PCs fight Lokansir FIRST; maybe they encounter him patrolling the halls on Mokmurian's level. This could force them to expend some resources before fighting the big guy.
If they fight them both at the same time, it may be a TPK even if they buff first.
Kingmaker is ... swingy in difficulty due to the nature of the random encounter charts.
Our group of five (with VERY generous rolled stats overall) has lost ... 5 characters :P
Most of the time we stomp encounters, but every so often you get in over your head. Will o' Wisps are a good example of this; early on (and even later) they are just deadly, and they can show up right away!
But, to better answer your question:
adding a CR is not a bad idea for those times when you have 6 players. For five, might not be necessary.
The best way to make it challenging is to keep players on their toes; have encounters come at night, or in adverse weather conditions, or in challenging terrain that benefits the monster, etc.
If you run things as presented, the party will likely find out very quickly that they're only going to have 1 or 2 encounters a day 90% of the time; which means they're likely to blow all their resources pretty fast. That's one of the reasons this adventure path can be easy; you don't have to worry about resource management as much.
But if you keep them guessing, they'll play more conservatively and that should help keep the difficulty more where you might want it.
Finally, this has little to do with difficulty but its REALLY useful for running Kingmaker (or any hex-crawl based game):
@cheapy forgot Dancing Lights was evocation ...
earlier posts: yeah, the radius of "light" would have to be confined to the limits of the spell.
@Foghammer: illusions are really powerful when combined with other effects that are NOT illusions, too; either causing paranoia or complacency.
I would say yes; nothing in the spell description states otherwise.
Also, Dancing Lights is a 0 level spell; it seems perfectly reasonable to me to allow a 1st level spell to emulate or improve upon a cantrip.
the fire would appear to be as large as you can make it (four 10-ft cubes + one 10-ft cube per level). so if you have a sufficiently high CL, yeah you could make a house appear to be on fire.
As soon as anyone gets remotely close and realizes there's no heat, jig is up however.
as for Stealth, it would work as any other light source. theoretically you could hide INSIDE the flame (if it is big enough), however.
There's probably no amount of information that will satisfy him.
I would either a) just tell him straight up "this is my game, and NO."
or b) make a feat that lets him do it. He's about to hit 5th level, so that should take care of things w/out being super unbalanced IMO (especially since archers tend to be feat heavy already).