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Rigg Gargadilly

Chen Zhen's page

19 posts (26 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Make sure to ask the players what they want. I gave my players a survey before we started playing. It helped me to know what they wanted in a game and what they didn't. Some of their responses surprised me, and I adjusted the game to meet their preferences.

The one shot adventure is a good idea. Especially starting out this can take a lot of the pressure off of you to create everything. Then ask them what they liked and what they didn't.

I see many GM "problem" posts here that boil down to the GM wanting to run one type of game, and the players wanting to play another. Having shared goals and expectations is key to everyone's enjoyment.

Some people enjoy the immersion aspects of the game (tracking food, encumberance, sleep), and others want to avoid bookkeeping.

Some want really serious role-playing, and others are goofy and bounce between in character and out of character frequently.

Some want to have richly detailed histories and character development, others don't bother to name characters and just want to hack monsters.

Clarify expectations (yours and theirs)at the beginning and revisit them occasionally. This will serve you well!


Adamantine Dragon wrote:


How many of you have gamed for months and months without the slightest problem, argument or string of personal insults being flung back and forth across your table?

Everything except the personal insults. As a group of close friends, those get thrown around constantly during game nights. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I just started GM'ing about a year ago. Something that I did that I would strongly recommend to anyone starting to run a game, is ask your players what they want.

I did a survey with a bunch of questions ranked 1 to 10, and asked where they lined up.

Always speak in character at the table 1 - 10 descibe what my character says and roll.

Combat always the solution 1 - 10 non combat option always the solution.

Combat driven adventure 1 - 10 story driven adventure

And so on. After getting the results (some were very surprising) I spoke with the group and shared the results.

Together we came up with the style of group we would be. They joke, in and out of character, they are sometimes focused, but often not. They often forget plot details, but they care about the story. I check in occasionally to make sure they are enjoying the game, and address any problems that come up.

Bottom line: I am enjoying running the game. They enjoy playing it. We all enjoy hanging out.

Trying to force this group to play super seriously would not be fun for anyone.

Check in with your group. If you are the only one that wants to play a super serious game, you are in for a world of frustration. Just my experience, but there you go. :)


I love it! So perfect! Thanks again.


Great work as always!

If possible, I would also like to swap out my character Keiran. I listed the details on the bottom of the first page, and repeated them below.

Eden & Ziva :

Eden and Ziva are non-identical human twin sisters in their late teens. I do not want them to be overly sexualized in their illustration.

I was thinking of something in the style of Yun & Yang from Street Fighter for their clothing. Silk jackets and loose pants, but in a more realistic (not super tight fitting) way.

Both should look somewhat "tomboyish" in their appearance.

Eden - Monk - 5'6" tall. She has green eyes and dark brown hair that she has pulled back into a long ponytail. She has a good sense of humor, and has a tendency to get into trouble. She likes teasing her sister, but in a good natured manner. She is strong and outgoing.

She wears brown pants and a bright green jacket with a dragonfly pattern on it, and I would love if you could include a dragonfly flying near her.

Ziva - Unarmed Fighter - 5'8" Standing slightly taller than her sister, Ziva has bright blue eyes and light brown hair that she pulls back into two short pigtails. She is less outgoing and more reserved than her sister.

She wears white pants and a pink jacket with a butterfly pattern on it. If you could include a butterfly flying near her, that would be appreciated.

(Real life backstory for this... My sister was expecting a baby at nearly the exact same time as my wife and I were expecting our first. We lost both girls within a few weeks of each other very late in their pregnancies. We had been calling them "the twins" and were looking forward to meeting them. My brother-in-law and I both play Pathfinder, and I thought this would be a fun way to remember them by.)

Thanks again for sharing your AMAZING artwork and talent with us.


Love the new portrait! I think I may need to do a campaign based around these characters!

Ruloc, is it ok to swap characters? If so, I'd like to swap for Keiran. The write up is the last post on page 1.

If not, that is ok, too.

Thanks again for doing this. Amazing work as always.


Salama wrote:
Sweet! I'm working on plastic Blood Bowl teams (orcs and humans from the newest edition box). After that, some Lord of the Rings diorama perhaps, featuring Sauron.

I'm working on a dwarf blood bowl team right now!


I agree, the art is well worth the wait! Thanks again for doing this.

Can I swap out Keiran for the following?

Eden & Ziva:

Eden and Ziva are non-identical human twin sisters in their late teens. I do not want them to be overly sexualized in their illustration.

I was thinking of something in the style of Yun & Yang from Street Fighter for their clothing. Silk jackets and loose pants, but in a more realistic (not super tight fitting) way.

Both should look somewhat "tomboyish" in their appearance.

Eden - Monk - 5'6" tall. She has green eyes and dark brown hair that she has pulled back into a long ponytail. She has a good sense of humor, and has a tendency to get into trouble. She likes teasing her sister, but in a good natured manner. She is strong and outgoing.

She wears brown pants and a bright green jacket with a dragonfly pattern on it, and I would love if you could include a dragonfly flying near her.

Ziva - Unarmed Fighter - 5'8"
Standing slightly taller than her sister, Ziva has bright blue eyes and light brown hair that she pulls back into two short pigtails. She is less outgoing and more reserved than her sister.

She wears white pants and a pink jacket with a butterfly pattern on it. If you could include a butterfly flying near her, that would be appreciated.

(Real life backstory for this... My sister was expecting a baby at nearly the exact same time as my wife and I were expecting our first. We lost both girls within a few weeks of each other very late in their pregnancies. We had been calling them "the twins" and were looking forward to meeting them. My brother-in-law and I both play Pathfinder, and I thought this would be a fun way to remember them by.)


I am a big fan of the art. It was one of the things that drew me to Pathfinder. Every book I get, the first thing I do is flip through the entire thing looking at art.

I have been very impressed with the (overall) consistently high quality of artwork in Paizo products.

Keep it up!


Odraude wrote:
One change I do want to see with the monk is adding proficiency to all monk weapons. I think it's a bit odd that the unarmed fighter archetype can be proficient with all monk weapons but not the monk.

This is a big one for me, too. It is already a house rule in our games, but I would love to see this as an official change. If it is balanced enough for a fighter archtype, I feel it should be ok for monks to be proficient with monk weapons.


I agree, I probably am being too picky.

I understand many of the changes (and agree with the reason they were made), but some completely baffle me. (The Ent scene in particular, changing it to be completely opposite...for what reason? No time saved, no change to the end result.)

I agree with books like this, it can be hard to accept changes to the area that really spoke to a particular individual. I have this tendency more than most. I'm happy that the films raised awareness if the books, if nothing else :)

I agree the films were better than any other fantasy film out there. I just need to find a way to be able to separate them in my mind!

<edit to add following>
As for holding them to too high of a standard, I think that is just because of how amazing they are! Looking back at the animated film I grew up with, no comparison. I feel it was so true in many regards, I just don't get why he made some of the choices he did.


I just worry about the sections that Jackson is filling in. The visuals of his films are amazing...

But I think he has an issue with anyone that acts in a heroic or noble manner. The choice to turn Faramir from an honorable and gentle warrior into a power hungry Boromir-ish clone. Having the scene with the Ents completely opposite from the books, for no apparent reason, as it ends the same in both!

I love the visuals, but really doubt the quality of the story elements that he will create / change.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


I never, ever, ever, EVER said that alternate subsystems like that aren't a good idea, or aren't worth considering, or don't belong in the game. They are a good idea. They are worth considering. They do belong in the game.

I am a big fan of your alternate step level advancement. I found it on one of the other posts, and shared it with my group. We have really enjoyed it. I think it is a great example of an alternate system that doesn't work for everyone, but our group won't go back to the "normal" way again.

I would love to see rules for low magic / rare magic item characters. One thing I like about Pathfinder is that it is adaptable (at least home games...PFS is a different matter). We have brought in rules we like and eliminated others we didn't.

As a player, I understand the desire for "official rules" that fit my playstyle preference (and I feel this as a fan of unarmed monk!) but I also realize that the great diversity in Pathfinder's player base means that many different opinions on the right way to do everything will exist.

I would love some rules written up that fit our playstyle as a group, but overall we have been pleased with Pathfinder. I do think it is important to add that in our group we have several players that like "bad" character choices. They do not optimize, nor do they have interest in learning how to do so. They make sub optimal choices, and are happy with their characters.

Bottom line: they like some of the "bad" choices, they enjoy the game, and we all buy books.

Those of us on the forums can tend to lean more towards the system mastery side of the player spectrum. I think it is important to remember that some players out there have different ways of making choices for their characters.

(2nd time typing on phone... After website ate last one. So please forgive any grammar or spelling errors I'm too tired to fix :)


"Try not to die!"


Pan wrote:

Dont be so pushy at the table. Give advice when asked not because you dont want to carry the party. Keep in mind folks that "helping" less optimized minded folks is a thin line. You can easily go from lending a helping hand to being a Fascist at the table. Another trait gamers tend to not like about Powergamers.

This thread is a great demonstration on compromise not something Powergamers are known for. I am a big proponent of player compatibility. Sometimes though playstyles are just incompatible. The best choice is to leave a group when you reach that point. I know what you are going to say, "but Pan I live in a tiny town with only 3 other gamers!" Time to move on or try internet gaming son. Life is too short for bad gaming.

I bolded two parts of your post that I think are really important. Some people don't really have an interest in system mastery. I am fortunate to have a group of friends that decided to game together. We enjoy roleplaying, but it is more about hanging out than simply playing an RPG. I spend more time working on my character (optimizing/powergaming/or whatever term you want to call it) than my friends do. They generally think of a character that they want to play, and they are less interested with changing the concept to make it more effective.

I have been running a game for them for about 6 months now. We have a Paladin that really wanted to dual wield a longsword and a light mace. I offered that a 2 handed weapon would be an easier and more effective way to go, but they were not interested. He had envisioned his character like that, so we went with it. Same goes for the halfling druid and the fighter that wanted a high charisma. This works for this group, because they have similar expectations. They are good roleplayers, but their lack of interest in optimization does not make them so.

I think that you need to find what works for your group. I don't think that every "powergamer" needs to hide their power until a dramatic moment...but that worked for that group (and it remains one of my favorite RPG stories, even though I wasn't even there). For other groups, they do want to learn the ways of optimization, and that is cool for them. I have known groups that are ok having a player power imbalance, but others may feel a need to even out the power level in some way. (The whole debate between rolling stats vs point buy is a good example of this, with passionate players on both sides!)

For me, I will continue to try to find ways of making my characters awesome and effective... as well as fitting in with the group dynamics. This is an awesome hobby, but I agree with Pan, "Life is too short for bad gaming."


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Naedre wrote:
5) Don't show off unless you need to:

A friend was telling me about a game he played in (I do not know the game system they were playing). One player was very experienced and was playing an archer character of some sort and the rest were newer players. They had been playing together for several months, real time, when the GM tossed a really challenging encounter at the party. Things were looking grim, when the player unleashed a hail of arrows in a turn. All the players and the GM looked at him, stunned. He had never fired more than one a round before. After he explained mechanically how it worked, the shocked GM said, "I didn't know you could do that". The player replied, "I never had to, before."

The player toned down his power level to that of the group, but was able to create such a memorable scene, that my friend remembered it years later, and still talked about it!

If you are in a group of similar skill and playstyle, you don't need to hold back. In a group of mixed experience, skill, system mastery, or interest in creating uber characters, there is still a way to be a team player, but shine at memorable moments.


VRMH wrote:
The Shadow Gambit feat will give this fellow the option of doing some damage too.

I didn't know it existed, either. That is certainly getting added.


If you are one of my players, turn around and walk away!

To everyone else...

I'm a newer GM. I have played some, but only martial characters, which leads to my current struggle.

For the current campaign I am running, I want to have a BBEG that is a sorcerer... Having never played a sorcerer, or even a spell caster, I was looking for advice to cook up a worthy foe for my players. I'm looking for tips on building the perfect villain, as well as using the baddie effectively against the party!

Campaign / Character Background:
We play an e6 game (so the max character level is 6, and you advance beyond 6 by earning extra feats, but no further levels). Advancing enemies beyond 6th level is generally done through templates and giving extra feats. I'm ok bending the rules for monsters and NPC's, but I don't want to go past 3rd level spells.

They fey are playing heavily into the campaign story, so I want to make the BBEG a gnome sorcerer with the Fey bloodline. I am also giving the fey template to beef up the baddie. This also gives the ability to shift into an alter ego... one the players hate with a passion. The players have already met the sorcerer (in his true form) several times, but are unaware of his power, and his evil intentions.

I wanted to go with sorcerer for the high CHA (the gnome is a master manipulator) and for the spontaneous casting (for story reasons). We are getting closer to the time when the players are going to find out that they are being manipulated, and will eventually have the big grand showdown.

I feel confident with the story side of things, but want the eventual showdown with the BBEG to be an interesting and challenging fight once they hit the epic portion of the campaign (level 6 with 5-10 bonus feats).

BBEG so far:

Male Gnome Sorcerer 6
NE Small Fey ((Humanoid), Gnome)
Init +6; Senses Low-Light Vision; Perception +3
--------------------
DEFENSE
--------------------
AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 11. . (+2 Dex, +1 size)
hp 48 (6d6+12)
Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +8
Defensive Abilities Defensive Training; DR 5/cold iron; Resist +4 to Will saves vs Mind Affecting effects, cold 10, electricity 10
--------------------
OFFENSE
--------------------
Spd 20 ft., Flight (30 feet, Good), Long Step (60 feet)
Melee +1 Bane (Human), Vicious Dagger +7 (1d3+1/19-20/x2) and
. . +1 Spell Storing Bone Dagger +7 (1d3-1/19-20/x2) and
. . Unarmed Strike +6 (1d2/20/x2)
Spell-Like Abilities Dancing Lights (1/day), Dancing Lights (3/day), Deep Slumber (1/day), Entangle (1/day), Faerie Fire (1/day), Ghost Sound (1/day), Glitterdust (1/day), Prestidigitation (1/day), Speak with Animals (1/day)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 6, +6 melee touch, +6 ranged touch):
3 (4/day) Major Image (DC 20)
2 (7/day) Hideous Laughter (DC 22), Alter Self (DC 18), Mirror Image (DC 19)
1 (8/day) Silent Image (DC 18), Enlarge Person (DC 17), Color Spray (DC 18), Grease (DC 17), Entangle (DC 17)
0 (at will) Mending, Read Magic (DC 16), Mage Hand, Daze (DC 20), Light, Prestidigitation (DC 16), Ghost Sound (DC 17)
--------------------
STATISTICS
--------------------
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 22
Base Atk +3; CMB +2; CMD 14
Feats Eschew Materials, Great Fortitude, Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Spell Focus: Enchantment, Toughness +6, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +6, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +8, Fly +13, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (Arcana) +10, Knowledge (Nature) +10, Linguistics +4, Perception +3, Profession (Torturer) +8, Spellcraft +12, Stealth +10, Use Magic Device +15
Languages Aklo, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Other Language, Other Language, Sylvan
SQ Change Shape: Human (Su), Fey, Hatred +1, Illusion Resistance, Laughing Touch (9/day) (Su), Woodland Stride (Ex)
Combat Gear +1 Bane (Human), Vicious Dagger, +1 Spell Storing Bone Dagger; Other Gear Handy Haversack (empty)
--------------------
SPECIAL ABILITIES
--------------------
+4 to Will saves vs Mind Affecting effects (Ex) You get +4 to Will saves against Mind Affecting effects.
Change Shape: Human (Su) You can change into a specific individual of another form.
Damage Reduction (5/cold iron) You have Damage Reduction against all except Cold Iron attacks.
Damage Resistance, Cold (10) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Cold attacks.
Damage Resistance, Electricity (10) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Electricity attacks.
Dancing Lights (1/day) (Sp) With Charisma 11+, cast Dancing Lights once per day.
Defensive Training +4 Gain a dodge bonus to AC vs monsters of the Giant subtype.
Eschew Materials Cast spells without materials, if component cost is 1 gp or less.
Fey +2 to save DCs from spells of the Compulsion subschool.
Flight (30 feet, Good) You can fly!
Ghost Sound (1/day) (Sp) With Charisma 11+, cast Ghost Sound once per day.
Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment +1 to the Save DC of spells from one school.
Hatred +1 Gain a bonus to attack vs goblinoid/reptilian humanoids.
Illusion Resistance +2 racial bonus to saves against illusions.
Laughing Touch (9/day) (Su) Melee touch attack leaves target able to take only move actions.
Long Step (60 feet) (Su) Every 1d4 rds, can teleport up to listed distance as a move action.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Prestidigitation (1/day) (Sp) With Charisma 11+, cast Prestidigitation once per day.
Speak with Animals (1/day) (Sp) Speak with Animals 1/day.
Spell Focus: Enchantment Spells from one school of magic have +1 to their save DC.
Woodland Stride (Ex) Move through undergrowth at normal speed.

I'm thankful for anyone who has ideas, thoughts, or critiques.


Two recent examples if this stand out.

Our group tends to be very laid back. We often get side tracked by out of character comments, jokes, or puns. This can make it difficult to keep the group on focus for plot points, but will never change because this is part of the fun we have getting together.

During the last session, the group was approaching a major plot development, but I was worried they would miss it. The as the NPC went on with his tale, the group grew quiet, and the realization spread over their faces. Suddenly they had a sense of urgency (in character) and began speaking frantically amongst themselves trying to make plans. It was really cool to see my homebrewed campaign create that type of reaction.

Following that session, one of the players called me. He said that he is wrapped up in the story, and can't wait to see what is going to happen next!

This is why I love to play RPGs. The chance to hang out with friends and collaboratively tell a compelling story. That is pretty great, and makes me feel appreciated.


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