I really don't see how your post has anything to do with mine, or refutes the fact that the game runs on math.
I have to agree that with the way Pathfinder works with the magic item treadmill, you just can't expect players to stay attached to a single specific item unless it grows in power over time. Love it or hate it, the entire game system is built around the idea that characters get more and stronger magic items as they go up in levels. The only ways to make absolutely certain players keep a specific item are to have it grow in power with them so it keeps up with what they can purchase/find, or to heavily restrict item availability (which requires a lot of mucking about with the rest of the game system).
The simple truth is, Pathfinder is a game system where your ability to do just about anything is dictated by your numbers. Even the best combat tactics won't work if you don't have good enough attack bonuses to hit or high enough AC and saves to survive. The best roleplayers are still going to have to roll diplomacy, bluff, and sense motive, and if they don't have the numbers they're going to lose.
I don't allow Nymphology or Book of Erotic Fantasy. Not because I have anything against sex or sexuality in a campaign, but because they're just bad books that contribute pretty much nothing beyond bad humor and worse art.
Not to mention that, in my admittedly very limited experience, most of the players who want to run characters using those rules don't have the maturity to handle the material. Every player I've seen/heard of using those books seemed to be interested in using them to be disruptive and/or go into uncomfortable territory for everyone at the table.
As for the larger question, I allow everything by Paizo and Dreamscarred Press as a rule. If a character starts getting problematic, I'll pull the player aside and have a quick talk with them.
I think the other possible issue with the Inquisitor for some campaigns is that because of their flexibility and versatility, it's hard to screw an Inquisitor up or make one that isn't fairly optimized. If you're in a campaign where the rest of the party is running weaker characters...
I'll toss in another vote for "run the campaign your players want." I've had games where I would be merciless, and games where I would tell the PCs that their characters would never be permanently killed off without having some way out of it.
To be honest, I'm actually rather fond of not killing PCs, but making them suffer in other ways instead. For some campaigns, my rule is that if you 'die' then you won't actually die, you'll just have some very bad things happen to you. Like surviving because you sold your soul to a devil, the dragon spares your character and puts him under a geas, etc. I like to give players who are invested in their characters some way to keep playing their characters if at all possible, but they don't get out of death with no consequences.
The Kingmaker AP is written to work that way. A campaign that can easily span decades, with tons of downtime between quest lines. That's probably why it's one of the more memorable APs.
I'll throw in another vote for shopping being handwaved, though I see it as an assortment of (depending on the location) large organizations of mages/merchants, smaller shops, free-lance crafter, and other adventurers selling off gear/loot.
In my experience, a bit of handwaving on shopping is a good idea unless your group is really into that kind of thing. Then again, I might be biased on account of that one 3.5 campaign I played in where we spent more time shopping than we did actually adventuring. Even though the DM put a lot of work into trying to make the shopping fun and entertaining, once we're two hours into the session and only half the party has gotten gear the quirky shopkeepers and unique items started wearing thin.
Well, I would say there's a bit of hidden cost to using Guided for Clerics and Druids, since some of their best combat buffs lose their punch (enlarging, Righteous Might, Wildshape). Melee combat buffs are frequently built on the assumption that strength is the melee combat stat.
Still, I'll concede that I'd be a lot more hesitant to allow a Druid or Cleric to take a Guided weapon. Mostly because, like you said, they're already full casting classes that really don't need any more goodies. Possibly the same applies to the Inquisitor as well.
For the monk, it's less of an issue since the class has crippling MAD problems to begin with. I personally like the idea of monks having something like wisdom-based weapon finesse built into the class as it is.
For the Gunslinger, I'm not even sure Guided would work by RAW, and if it did all you get is a Gunslinger trading AC and initiative for extra grit and different save/skill bonuses. I don't think that's a game-breaker.
Well, one could make the case that dexterity is overall a much stronger stat than wisdom (class abilities aside). Dexterity goes into a save, some skills, AC, and initiative, while wisdom only adds to a few skills and will saves.
That said, I've only allowed Guided in one game, where a monk player wanted it. It gave the class a bit of a helping hand.
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Yeah, that's the real issue with Pathfinder. A lot of the major numbers, like AC, don't scale very well without magic added in. Full Plate, a tower shield, and fighting defensively only gets a fighter up to mid-upper 20s as far as AC goes (and you're taking a -6 to hit just to pull that off). It's notable that of the traditional Big Six, half of those items are AC-boosters (Magic Armor, Ring of Protection, Amulet of Natural Armor).
Conflicting codes? Sure. But not every conflict has to be absolute, nor do they have to be inevitable or irresolvable. I would not put either paladin's holiness at risk unless either were acting dishonorably in the exchange.
Exactly. Two Paladins with conflicting codes wouldn't be any different from two other ordinary characters who disagree on a moral dilemma. So long as both are acting in accordance with their codes, there shouldn't be any major issue.
From a quick look at the RAW, I'd say you could get a full attack so long as your mount only moves up to it's speed when it charges (And thus qualifies for Mounted Skirmisher). A charge only requires a minimum ten feet of movement, so that's not too much of an issue. Since the Devs have been very firm about a mounted charge only involving the mount using the charge action, not the rider, you would still have a full round action and could full attack.
However, you only get double damage on the first on a mounted charge, per this FAQ.
Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
Yeah. Whenever the forum gets bored of arguing over class balance, alignment, and WBL/Magic items, we go back to the classic "Does becoming a GM turn ordinary gamers into infallible god-kings, or can they actually make mistakes?"
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I think Anzyr is simply trying to get to the root of the issue, and I personally think his question is fine and could help to cut through some of the clutter.
I'll third that point. It does seem like there's two types of GMs who don't like the idea of PCs buying magic items. For some, it's either a verisimilitude issue or a preference for low-magic campaigns, but there do seem to be a lot of GMs who get very offended by the idea that players want certain magic items. I recall a couple threads when ultimate equipment came out complaining that now players wanted the neat new items there, or that Pathfinder moved magic items to the Core Rulebook instead of having them in the GM-only book for the same reason.
For my part, magic items are such an important part of what characters can do that I think players should generally be able to get what they want in some way, shape, or form. Pathfinder has the magic item treadmill build into the system, after all. It's been said more than once, but WBL only really counts if it's in items your player can use. A greatsword-specialized fighter who only gets a +4 dagger as a weapon is not getting the full use of his character wealth.
So in order to avoid making up new rules, and to save the time in games I just assume items under a certain value are in city X.
That's the main reason I abstract most magic item shopping too. After playing in one or two games where spent the entire session shopping for gear I decided to keep gametime spent on shopping to a minimum in games I ran.
I generally assume the "Magic Mart" is an abstraction for every dealer in magic items, freelance enchanter, and random adventurers selling off old gear within a community. While abstracting all of that under the hood to get on with things can be useful most of the time, I will say that there are times when doing the shopping in-game can be a useful way to drop plot hooks or ideas for a sandbox game. Stuff like the enchanter who makes the party's gear handing out a quest hook for spell components, the secondhand magic item you bought from a retiring adventurer having a dark secret, etc.
I think Master Marshmallow had an interesting point on how different styles of games favor different magic item systems. If it's something with a fairly tight plot, like an adventure path, then there's a natural desire to keep the plot moving forward. Meanwhile, more sandbox-style games tend to be a lot more open to spending time on shopping, because there's no overarching plot that everyone else wants to get back to advancing.
Drannor Hawksley wrote:
TL:DR Depends on your players, as long as everyone's having fun I think you're fine.
I'd say that's really what the issue boils down to. As a storyteller, you need to have a story that matches your audience's interests. If the players want something so dark that it makes Game of Thrones look like My Little Pony, go with that. If they want a lighthearted epic adventure, then give them that. The only inflexible rule of running an RPG is "make it fun."
Have to agree on that point. The biggest issue a lot of players have with sundering is that their gear (and WBL) is lost forever when it happens. Like it or not, Pathfinder is a game where your equipment is very important to how effective your character is, especially as you go up in levels. Sundering probably wouldn't upset as many players if it was easily fixed by Make Whole
Of course, some GMs might not like the idea of being able to repair any destroyed gear with a single relatively low-level spell. Especially since a lot of the sunder-prone GMs seem to like sundering so much because it proves they're such hardcore merciless GMs who never pull any punches.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I think you have a valid point to an extent, but that particular philosophy can easily get taken in the wrong direction.
"Oh, you're not having fun trying to face down CR 15 enemies with no magic items? Well you will, trust me. You just don't know what's fun for you yet."
It's easy for that kind of attitude to come across as incredibly patronizing. Not everyone wants to play a no-holds-barred game where the GM is constantly puling out every single dirty trick he can think of in an effort to kill the PCs.
Bigger Club wrote:
It has been said many times allready but since it seems to be ignored or forgotten by some of the posters. Make whole can at best repair +3 weapon anything above that is beyond the spell. In theory there might be a way to raise CL up to 24 required for +4. And even that +3 weapon needs CL 18, how easy it is to find a scroll like that in most settings? In practice this will mean that sunder is devestating at mid levels and stuff of nightmares at high level play, if you are dependant on make whole to counter it.
Some people work very hard at ignoring inconvenient facts that undermine their arguments.
Have to agree on that point; for everything else 4th edition got wrong, they did massively improve the skill system. I also rather liked them cutting down the gap between good and bad saves and getting rid of HP rolls. Too bad those few good ideas were shackled to a lot of bad ones.
But yeah, back on topic. I think that there should only very rarely be a situation where any class is incapable of contributing to the game. Having players sitting on the sidelines because they can't do anything is almost never fun. That's always been my issue with Fighters; barring heavy investment, they never get many option beyond "I hit it with a weapon for HP damage." In Pathfinder options are power, and the fighter is the ultimate one-trick pony.
It would be superkeen if we could stop with the "people who have problems playing monks are dumb" crap.
But going "No, u dum!" is so much easier than actually addressing people's arguments. Plus they get an excuse to act smugly superior and self-righteous. All in all, much more satisfying than all the stupid "facts" and "logic" the other side uses.
I would say that the rogue is definitely equipped to be fairly good at social skills by virtue of having all the social skills as class skills, and enough skill points to take them. However, it is fair to say that other classes can make better faced than the rogue thanks to either having spells and other class features that give more benefits to face skills beyond basic proficiency, and getting more benefits from increasing charisma.
I guess it really just boils down to what level a class needs to reach to be "good" at social skills. If it takes more than just having the skills at max ranks and un-dumped charisma, then the rogue doesn't bring much to the table. Most of the social Rogue Talents are either lackluster, only useful in corner cases, or seem like they're making you pay a talent for things that characters should just be able to do normally (Rumormonger, looking at you). It doesn't help that the few really useful ones, like Honeyed Words, tend to be once a day abilities.
Yeah, the final guideline will always be "If everyone at the table is having fun, it's okay." I just think that any GM should be cognizant of the fact that in some cases taking away control of a player's character can have an impact on their ability to enjoy the game. Ideally, it's something to discuss beforehand.
Elrawien Lantherion wrote:
It is not bad form since players can use it as well.
I wouldn't say that's always necessarily the case, simply because of the differences between the role of GM and player. One of many NPCs or monsters getting dominated is a non-issue for the GM, while a PC getting dominated, held, or whatever results in the player have no way of really contributing to the game.
That's not to say that those spells can never be used, just to be aware of the fact that when you take away control of the player's one and only character, you've effectively removed them from the game. Being forced to sit on the sidelines while everyone else keeps playing will eventually make the game much less fun for that player.
Bill Dunn wrote:
One could make the argument that part of why high-level material doesn't sell as well is because the Pathfinder ruleset starts getting a lot messier at upper levels.
Have to agree on that. I tend to think a more balanced game actually encourages roleplaying by making more options mechanically viable. I think optimizing wouldn't be quite as ubiquitous in Pathfinder if there weren't such massive power gaps between weak options and strong ones. When option A is twice as good as options B, C, and D you'll quickly end up with most people picking option A.
Never use CM to abuse or "punish" players, but they're excellent tools for keeping PCs on their toes.
I specifically did this to our local DPS; she was doing nothing but attack rolls. No RP, no effort in researching magic items or alternate feats; just going straight down the "I shoot things." summary for her character. So when they faced a dragon, it bit her precious bow in twain. She did have a backup, but learned a very potent lesson.
Seems like there's a bit of a contradiction here. "Never use sundering players, but one time I totally did that to punish someone for not playing the game right."
As I noted in the part of my post you didn't quote, it's certainly possible to make a fighter with decent out-of-combat utility. However, the basic fighter chassis doesn't lend itself well to out-of-combat: 2 skill points a level, no intelligence synergy, a weak class skill list, and no out-of-combat class features.
Enough feats, traits, and intelligence boosts can mitigate that weakness, but it doesn't change the fact that the basic chassis is weak in that area.
Matt Thomason wrote:
I do think that a more balanced Pathfinder is still going to be useful for home games, since it means GMs need to spend less time worrying about balance as opposed to storytelling and running the campaign. I know when I GM, I only have so much time to spend on the game I'm running; time spent on game balance is time taken away from everything else I could be doing.
Have to agree with the other posters that don't see any major issues with the magus fighting defensively. I could maybe see an issue with it if the magus was using all of the Crane Style feats, but barring a dip into Master of Many Styles Monk (and dipping really hurts any caster) that's a five feat investment. I tend to think that spending that meany feats ought to pay off.
Munchkinism is in the eye of the beholder. One man's legitimate ruling can easily be another man's cheese.
Seconding this. When a player crosses the line from wanting an effective character to a power-gaming munchkin is entirely subjective, because it all boils down to what level of mechanical power people think is acceptable. For some folks, anything that's rules-legal is fine; others will call a fighter using a greatsword with power attack and 18 strength (after a +2 racial bonus) a powergaming munchkin character.
To be honest, one of the few things I liked about 4th edition was them junking the idea of in-combat balance vs. out-of-combat balance. The game's more fun when you're not amazing at half of it, and useless during the other half.
As to the question, tradition says that the fighter is made to be great in battle and weak out of it, while the rogue is the opposite. That's not to say that you can't make fighters with decent skills or rogues who can fight well, but the basic chassis of the class is all about that balance.
Exactly this. Once you know a monster's abilities/weaknesses out of character, you have to consciously remind yourself that your character might not know that. Even when you try to avoid metagaming, it can be very easy to slip up or find yourself trying to justify how your character could know of find out what you know out of character.
I'd have to agree that the rules could use revising, thought that's mostly because I'm a fan of keeping rules language as simple and clear as possible. Simple, clear rules make it easy for everyone at the table to understand. Complicated, fiddly rules like the current ones on this matter lead to rules arguments at the table that eat up gaming time.
I would say the Law/Chaos scale is going to be at least as important as the Good/Evil one for this situation. I could certainly see a Chaotic Good character killing a bad guy post surrender if the bad guy 'deserves' it, especially if the local authorities are corrupt. Vigilantes are one of the classic chaotic good concepts, after all.
By the same token, I could see a Lawful Evil bad guy accepting surrenders and treating prisoners decently on the pragmatic grounds that being known for accepting surrender and treating prisoners fairly will make future opponents more inclined to surrender rather than fight to the death, and ensures that if things go bad for him he'll be treated well.
Fair enough then.
I tend to be of the opinions that some people are just jerks, and the form of jerkiness they employ is largely immaterial. Whether it's someone complaining that the rest of the players are powergamers who don't know how to roleplay because they outperform his fighter that can only 1d4 damage a hit and has a negative attack bonus, or it's someone who can't go one session without needing to talk about how great his build is and get into dick-measuring contests with all the players about how much better his character is, the fact is that the player is a disruptive jerk who's making the game less fun for everyone.
Personally, whether someone tries to justify bad behavior by claiming that they're a "True Roleplayer" or "Optimizer" isn't important. What matters is that they're being a jerk.
However, I'd like to think that for every bad example, there are plenty of roleplayers and optimizers who can sit down, play the game, and have fun. Personally, I'll take someone who's just fun to spend a couple hours with as my number one qualification. In my experience, it's a lot easier for someone with decent people skills to learn roleplaying and system mastery than it is for a jerk who's a master roleplayer/optimizer to learn how to be tolerable company for an entire game session.
True; this case probably wouldn't have been quite as terrible if not for the fact that it was a CR 12 lich against an APL 4 party, and the lich opened up with a DC 22 Save or Die.
Most of your "solutions" sound like tactics a control freak GM might use if they feel like they don't like how their players are playing and need to punish them for building characters by the rules they don't like. Sure once and a while its good to through a variety of encounters at the party to let other people shine, but if every encounter is against dex draining/distored longer range than the PCs fly aways, it gets really old really fast.
It's a fair point; at the end of the day, the GM can easily kill even the most optimized PC because they run the world. Just throw an APL +8 encounter at them and call it a day (Yes, a control freak GM did this to a group I was in once).
A properly optimized PC can survive a lot more than a poorly built one, but if the GM wants any character dead badly enough, they will die.
Barbarians, they gain rage powers at te same rate fighters gains combat feats, a bad trade for fighters when you realize that rage powers tend to be just better than most combat feats.
It is rather telling that most Barbarian builds will end up trading away several of their feats to get extra rage powers.
Can we at least acknowledge that while some optimizers are also good gamers, many are problem players who cause major disruptions and annoyance as a lot of tables?
As soon as you acknowledge that while some "Roleplayers, not ROLLplayers" are good gamers, many are problem players who cause major disruption and annoyance at a lot of tables.
True, though as stated Golarion might not play by those rules. I rather doubt that Orcs, Demons, and Goblins follow the Geneva Convention. One could also question whether treaties about surrender and treatment of POW's were motivated by morality or pragmatism. Reciprocity has always been the foundation of international law, after all.
Seconding party funds for stuff like healing wands. Usually, the only time I'd charge a party member for a spell is if it has a component cost.
However, I think the specific case Umbriere has in mind is for when a character wants several long-term buffs at the start of every day. That is a bit of a different case from casting haste at the start of a tough battle. Personally, a lot would depend on the context, but I could understand a cleric wanting something back if they're devoting a significant amount of their daily spells to helping a single character.
I would also say that, when it comes to character contribution, buffs can distort things by making just about any build look decent. A bard throwing out the one-two-three combo of haste, good hope, and inspire courage is going to pump up melee damage enough to give just about any weapon-user good DPR.
Did you accept their surrender? Or did you shout back 'No Quarter' instead? If the latter, no problem. Armies do the 'no quarter' thing whenever they're ill equipped to handle prisoners. That's neutral. But if you accepted the surrender its another matter.
I think that's a very important distinction to keep in mind. Just because a surrender has been offered doesn't mean it's automatically accepted. A lot of modern real-world military/police organizations might have a policy of always accepting an unconditional surrender, but wandering adventurers usually aren't part of those groups or required to follow their rules.
I find this amusing, really. The bear was the default animal companion in 3.5 because it was so much stronger and tougher then the other animals. Even pounce only made it a toss-up.
I imagine that's probably part of why the Pathfinder bear got hit so hard with the nerf bat. Though it does also bear mentioning that the Paizo Devs have their preferences, and those are reflected in how the game rules changed.
Again with the "I've been playing longer than you so I know everything and you know nothing" argument...
Experience in non-Pathfinder RPGs doesn't say much about how well a person knows the Pathfinder rules. In fact, in my experience people who've played a lot of other games before Pathfinder are more likely to get the rules and game balance wrong, because their prior gaming experience colors their idea of how the game works. Some Pathfinder rules are [i]very[/e] different from 3.5 D&D rules, let alone the rules from earlier editions of the game.
To cite a relevant example, 3.5 had the Crossbow Sniper feat (1/2 Dex to damage snf double the range on precision damage), while the 3.5 version of Manyshot was far less of an instant win button for longbows compared to it's Pathfinder incarnation.
I think what makes Sunder seem a lot worse to players than other forms of death/disabling/getting knocked out of the fight is the fear that they'll be stuck playing a permanently weak character. Stuff like panic effects, hold spells, and the like can still take a character out of an encounter, but after that the effect is over and life moves on. Even if the character dies, they can just roll up a new one and get back in the game.
Meanwhile, sundered gear is destroyed forever, and consequently leaves a character permanently weaker in terms of wealth. So to a player, sundering gear can seem much like having monsters that permanently reduce their ability scores or hit points. The fear is that by the time they can replace their lost gear, everyone else will have enough to get better gear. And so on from there, leaving the character eternally one step behind the rest of the party and the challenges they'll be facing. That might not be true from a strict number standpoint, but how the players feel won't always match the math.