|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
Just tossing up another general discussion topic. In your experience, what's more important to having fun while playing Pathfinder: the mechanics and tools of the game itself, or the other people sitting across the table from you?
Personally, I find that the group dynamic is usually more important, and the rules are mainly significant in how they impact that. Rules debates or rules so unbalanced that they cause problems for the players will damage fun. Otherwise, it's all about the players and the GM. A good set of players with a good GM can have a ton of fun with any set of rules, or even just by playing freeform.
Obviously, the dividing line on what degree of out-of-alignment action is required to cause an alignment shift is something that's prone to a lot of YMMV. There can't really be any universal rule on what it takes to earn an alignment shift, since every single example is highly context-dependent and probably depends on the moral views of the people involved in the debate. Instead, I'll just toss out two general principles.
1: Generally, isolated acts do not cause alignment shifts. If a character is consistently Lawful Good up until the point where he, say, roughs someone up to get the information they need to save a dozen orphans, and afterwards continues to act LG, they're still LG.
2: That said, extreme acts can prompt an immediate alignment shift. If a character saves those dozen orphans, but then sacrifice one of them to the Dark Gods for power, he can't still claim to be good because he saved 11/12 orphans.
Personally, I'd say action and intentions both factor into alignment.
On the topic of selfishness and self-interest, I think self-interest is a fundamentally neutral motivation. The character just wants to be a successful bard with a little fortune and glory to go along with it. It's no different from the farmer who only cares about growing his crops so he'll have enough to feed himself, and sell the rest to maybe buy an ox so next his farm will be even more productive.
Where self-interest crosses the line into selfishness (and evil) is when a character decides they're willing to step on other people in order to advance themselves. A bard who says "I want to win the singing contest at the Royal Festival for the gold prize and fame," he's neutral. When the bard says, "I want to win the singing contest at the Royal Festival for the gold prize and fame, so I better take out anyone who's good enough to challenge me," he's evil.
Flame Effigy wrote:
Yeah, I found it rather revealing when one of the early things the devs mentioned as far as feedback went was that the class would be stronger than it looked in the playtest since it would interact very well with the rest of the new mechanics in Ultimate intrigue. When people naturally followed up by asking what those mechanics were, the answer was "Well, we haven't actually designed any of those yet..."
Flame Effigy wrote:
It certainly fits the classic image of "I'm just following orders."
And just to reiterate my point, I think any alignment is playable with a group so long as the player actually tries to get along with the others at the table, and that a disruptive player can use any alignment as an excuse to be a gigantic pain in the ass.
To be fair, that was pretty much par for the course for big companies in the mid-90s. I remember all the cease and desists Marvel and DC sent to fansites then. The Internet was a new thing to the public then, and no one at companies really knew how to deal with the issue then. (They barely even do today.)
True enough. My only point was that when you compare any modern gaming company to mid-nineties TSR, the modern company's gonna look amazingly better at online policy.
I'm also reminded of Crecy, which was another case of the longbow outperforming the crossbow due to massively stacked deck. Given that Crecy was a battle where the French did everything wrong, right up from the decision to fight at all. Just to list everything the crossbowmen had stacked against them:
1: Since the entire army was still in marching order, the Crossbowmen had a lot of their gear (like their shields) stowed when the battle began.
2: The English held the high ground, and the terrain seriously limited the crossbowmens' ability to deploy.
3: The English position forced the crossbowmen to shoot into the sun.
4: The English were in a prepared position, and had plenty of time to dig in and make some cover.
5: The Crossbowmen were worn out from a long day of marching, while the longbowmen were fresh and rested.
6: A lot of the French Knights were bloodthirsty lunatics who would attack their own men for getting in between them and the fight. Also worth mentioning that point 6 is why the French started a battle where things couldn't possibly be more stacked against them. IIRC the king and generals wanted to hold of on attacking until the next day, but the knights in the vanguard pulled a classic Leeroy Jenkins as soon as they spotted the first Englishman.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Yeah, golden-age TSR was infamous for being so unfriendly to its fanbase that a lot of people think the management was trying to deliberately sabotage to D&D brand so they could put it's resources to work on other properties instead. Their internet policy was so insane they were doing stuff like shutting down fansites and forums about the game, and threatening lawsuits just for mentioning it online.
Casual Viking wrote:
EDIT: Having read another post about language templates, I have to put my finger on it: The Paizo writers are sloppy. There's no word that better describes what they do wrong.
There are definitely some pretty egregious cases of this, like how one can ask about the interaction between Precise Strike (the Duelist PrC ability), Precise Strike (the Teamwork fear) and Precise Strike (the swashbuckler deed).
I think you mean Agincourt, not Hastings. But otherwise, good stuff.
The other part of the issue is that alignment is so loosely defined that it's easy to get debates on where the line lies. For example, let's take your example of the honorable fighter guy using dirty tactics, which leads to an alignment change.
Some GMs would say that taking the BBEG's minions hostage to force him to surrender/release his own hostages is dubious enough earn an alignment shift, while other would say it's excusable because "The Greater Good."
There are stories about Paladins whose GMs made them fall because they allowed used stealth, flanked with someone in combat, or used a ranged weapon, since those aren't "honorable."
What happens if a Fighter uses the Dirty Trick combat maneuver? Does dirt in the eyes or a kick in the crotch = alignment shift?
And so on...
Yeah, I've definitely had players who picked Chaotic Evil/Neutral so that they would have an excuse to go into the nearest village and immediately start raping, murdering, and plundering. Then get really creepy about discussing how they mutilate the bodies, or asking if they can roll charisma to see if their rape victims "get into it."
My solution is to not invite those players to my table again. Problem players are generally gonna be a problem no matter what alignment they have to put on the character sheet.
Kain Darkwind wrote:
If you don't mind, let's stick with your car analogy for a bit.
Pathfinder is a car which chugs along just fine at 35 miles an hour. which is where the devs designed it to work. However, some people want to drive it on the freeway, at 55 miles an hour. At that speed, the car shakes, rattles, and leaks. Other folks might even want to drive it on the open road, where the speed limit goes up to 70 miles an hour. At that speed, the car blows up like a Pinto.
Despite this, the car is supposedly designed as and marketed towards every driver on the road, fully capable of driving at high speeds.
Or, to drop the analogy, if the devs don't want players optimize the slightest bit, they shouldn't make a system that strongly rewards optimization. If the system can't handle people driving at 70, then don't make rules that allow people to drive at 100.
and i've mentioned before that this way of stopping "caster creep" heavily restricts the kind of story the GM is allowed to tell. I'd prefer the system didn't force this kind of behavior from the GM or the Players.
Agreed. As I noted just a couple posts ago, if the game only "works" when played one specific way out of the multitude of playstyles it's supposed to support, that's a problem with the game. Really, the fact that people talk about how to structure their entire campaign around keeping casters from being too powerful is pretty clear evidence that casters can be really powerful.
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Not to mention the Sohei can run just fine as a weapon monk instead of an unarmed one. my favorite Sohei didn't use his fists, he was a mounted combat specialist who hit things with a nodachi while riding around on a Dire Wolf.
Granted, at that point you're getting a bit far from "classic" monk flavor.
Kain Darkwind wrote:
I think a lot of people would say that if the game only works when you play with on specific playstyle out of several possibilities, the game claims to support, that's a weakness of the game.
Blazej: I like the company, I just hate what they have been doing lately. Different thing. If I truly hated paizo, I've got better things to do than get pissed off at the endless series on nuclear strike nerfs rained down on the game I love. It hard to see the good things with all the mushroom clouds blotting out the sun... :P
Yeah, all the negative feedback isn't coming in because people hate Paizo. It's because we care about the company and want to see them stop going down a path that's damaging the game we all love.
Insain Dragoon wrote:
2. I want more Jason. This man is the lead designer and the arbiter for every scrap of content we see in the books. The fact that he interacts so little with the community is really saddening.
Have to agree, to an extent. Going over a lot of SKR and Mark's statements on the matter, it seems like Jason has the last word on rules, FAQ, and Errata. I kind of get the sense that it doesn't really matter what we say to Mark or whoever is interacting with the community, because Jason's the one who actually makes the final decisions. Some of SKR's comments after leaving Paizo really make it seem like he often agreed with the community's concerns, but was vetoed by Jason and then had the unenviable task of selling Jason's position to the playerbase.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
It's not that we can't ignore it so much as it is that all the errata dimmed our enthusiasm for Pathfinder at a time when we were already debating whether or not try out a different game.
Alas, my group has come to an even simpler conclusion. We were between campaigns, and debating whether to run another Pathfinder game or try something else. Considering the nerf-splosion knocked out a few character ideas people were considering for the next Pathfinder game, we're going to be playing Iron Kingdoms or World of Darkness instead.
Yeah, for me this is just as big of an issue as the the terrible balance of all these balance changes. Errata and FAQs are supposed to be for fixing mistakes and clearing up rules confusion, but at this point it's pretty clear Paizo's using them as patches to rebalance the game.
Not to mention that while all this rebalancing is going on, a whole lot of actual mistakes/unclear rules are still going unaddressed. I would really like if Paizo would spend less time nerfing things that the PFS management thinks are OP, and more time doing stuff like fixing the messy mounted combat rules or spells full of ambiguity like Simulacrum.
John Lynch 106 wrote:
I find it illuminating that he's waited until after leaving Paizo before expressing these ideas (haven't listened to these videos in detail, just going off initial impressions). Especially given his ardent stance on Pathfinder's rules being fine as they were written while employed by Paizo (see his claims regarding water balloons and crossbows). I wonder how long he's had these opinions.
From what he's said in the past, I get the sense that as long as he was working for Paizo he felt obligated to defend the official company line, regardless of any personal doubts or bits of the system he didn't like. I do recall him mentioning that a couple of the monk rulings the forum heard about through him were things he personally disagreed with, yet still got put on the spot trying to defend since back when he worked for Paizo he was pretty much the dev team's face on the forums.
I think it was to avoid adding readied actions on top of a surprise round + things like if there's interaction before initiative, so every single character both sides readies an action for once combat starts.
i really don't get the hate around swashbucklers, they may not be the perfect class, and they do have a few problems (mainly their ridiculous lack of fort save for a frontline fighter) but they are trully an enjoyable and quite active class
I think a lot of it stems from the fact that all the problems with the swashbuckler were pointed out during the ACG playtest, and all that feedback was completely ignored.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
I think it rather unlikely that Paizo, a company built off of capitalizing on the hatred of old-school gamers for 4e, would ever make something all in the vein of 4e.
Honestly, when PF 2e happens I expect that at most it would be more akin to PF 1.5e. 90% of the core rules stay the same, but lots of little tweaks to (hopefully) make things more balanced and clear up all those rules issues that can't be solved without a major rewrite (like mounted combat).
I'm not sure I'm quite following what the question is. What sorts of differences are you thinking of? Also, is your question specific to Pathfinder, or do other roleplaying systems count?
Basically, I want to talk about differences in how different groups play the game. Is Pathfinder as played by a group that's been gaming together for five years different from Pathfinder as played by a group where most of the players have never gamed together before?
Since we're on a Pathfinder Forum, that game would be the most relevant one to discuss. But since the topic is really about the differences betweeen long-running established groups who've been playing together for years vs ones where there's always a couple new guys, any system could apply.
So, this is one thing I've noticed indirectly coming up in a lot of conversations on the forums. People who've been in a consistent gaming group/circle for years seem to have a very different outlook on the game than folks who have a high turnover rate in gaming partners. I certainly noticed a difference in the experience when I was in a campaign with a bunch of people I knew and had gamed with several times in the past vs. times when I barely knew half the people at the table. Have other people noticed the same thing?
How much does your outlook on being a player change when you don't know the DM very well? And the opposite question if you're a DM with several new players. How do you think your group dynamics have changed your overall Pathfinder experience, and your outlook on the game as a whole?
Jeff Merola wrote:
Not to mention the guys running PFS can be wrong in their interpretation of what is and isn't balanced.
Indeed. That's why Combat Expertise is infamous as a common feat tax: 99% of the feats its a prerequisite for have nothing to do with Combat Expertise.
Pounce Lances was a fine nerf in my book. Sure, it was a martial nerf but it just got to the point where the option was like 5 times the DPR of other melee options.
Which version of it? I'd assume the current one, but there have been a couple different takes on it due to various failed attempts to clarify the horridly borked mounted combat rules.
That sad, I'd agree that the current rule of "RageLancePounce can happen, but you only multiply damage on the first hit" is a pretty reasonable compromise.
Thinking it over, I think one the main reasons this errata is causing so many issues is because a lot of the content is not actually an errata. If the errata just fixed all the misprints, typos, and obvious mistakes like Bolt Ace keeping guns then there wouldn't be much upset over it.
However, way too much of the Errata is actually a balance patch, not an errata. And given a lot of people disagree with what the devs think is and isn't balanced (see "martial-caster disparity is a myth propagated by an evil conspiracy") any balance patch is going to be controversial.
Agreed. The end result is still PFS saying "we don't like this" and the devs changing it.
When a Coup De Grace is an automatic hit? Nothing.
Yeah, at the end of the day there's not much to discuss when someone says "I think X is more fun than Y." Because what people think is fun is almost entirely a matter of personal preference.
Though I would mention that wizards, being int-based guys, have tons of skill points to let them go for mundane solutions, plus they have magic as a fallback.
Anyway, back to the topic of the thread. My take at GMing RotRL definitely saw the Martial-Caster disparity showing up full force. Particularly once the enemy casters got high-enough level to start doing things like having Fly up at the start of an encounter or Dimension Door-ing out once things went bad (Lucretia got away from the party twice, after which the cleric made a point of dimensional anchor-ing any caster BBEG).
There were also two players who tried fighters over the course of the campaign. Both of them were unsatisfied with the fighter on account of only being able to stab things in the face, and swapped out for more casty characters (a Sorcerer and Summoner). Both these changes lead to substantially better party performance.
I think it's not so much that they have no idea what to do as it is that they know it'd take a major rewrite to fix mounted combat, and Paizo really hates the idea of making any substantial changes to the CRB. After all, changing the text might change the pagination, and everyone knows the universe would explode if so much as a single line of text was shifted to another page.
After all, making sure every single reference to a CRB page number in a five-year-old splatbook is accurate is far more important than having coherent rules.
I think, as is often the case when it comes to GMing issues, it's all about execution. The line between the GM helping one of the players out with a couple special items and outright GM favoritism can be a very fuzzy one.
This is definitely one of the issues I've seen when loot division is handled by way of "items go to whoever speaks up about wanting them." That one game I mentioned previously where half the party was loaded down with magical gear while the other half was practically naked is what happens when half the players are very aggressive about calling dibs on loot, and the other half are passive types who don't want to start a confrontation.
Personally, I'd consider the enemy spending a turn downing a potion (and possibly getting AoOed as well) a pretty good deal.
Yeah, I've personally seen plenty of problems with just doing ad-hoc distribution of items, since it can easily lead to players feeling like they're not getting a fair share and/or the GM is playing favorites. I know I got rather annoyed in one game where my bard didn't have any proper magic items at level 12, while the frontliners were swinging custom magic weapons and getting toys like rings of regeneration.
Casual Viking wrote:
Urgh, yes. The mounted combat rules were already messy in 3.5, and then Paizo slapped on several of their signature overly broad patches to fix narrow "problems" with mounted combat that, per usual, broke far more than they solved.
Stances and cool special abilities? Sounds a lot like Tome of Battle/Path of War.
Trivia time: the camel from the first Conan movie actually died from getting punched by Arnold. It's why the movie lacks the usual "No animals were harmed" disclaimer.
Even a practically optimized wizard can easily become a fun-ruiner if he's really built to be powerful. To toss out one example I brought up earlier, wizard starts combat by casting a Dazing Fireball. Enemies get no actions for three turns, turning the fight into a complete mop-up.
Just gonna second all of this. While more experienced gamers are generally more likely to be good ones, I've gamed with plenty of "veteran" gamers who were absolutely terrible, and plenty of newbies who picked it all up very quickly and were real fun to game with.
That said, the blaster spellcaster is what Pathfinder spellcasters are designed around, balance-wise, but it turns out there are plenty of non-damage spells for spellcasters which are faaaaaar more powerful and effective. And that's why there's a problem. If the Wizard didn't have access to Summon Monster, Color Spray, Glitterdust and the like (and were pretty much limited to blasting and utility spells) they'd STILL be more powerful than the Fighter, but at least they wouldn't make him effectively obsolete.
I feel compelled to point out that blaster spellcasting can be very devastating if you optimize for it. Granted, part of a good blaster's scariness usually comes from combining their damage with control-based metamagic like Dazing Spell. Fireball gets way scarier when a failed save = no actions for three rounds.
Though that does bring up the point that the OP is comparing a barbarian to a blaster wizard who has put zero effort into being good at blasting.
Yeah, I don't think anyone minds people bringing up their experience when it's actually relevant to the topic at hand. If someone suggests bringing back some rules from 1st edition, it's quite helpful to have posters who actually played with those rules offer feedback on the matter.
The problem-posters are the ones who seem incapable of making a single post without mentioning how many years they've been playing the game, and respond to anyone who disagrees with them about anything by saying "Well I've been playing the game for a hundred years and actually shook Gygax's hand once, so..."