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Arodnap

Chris Mortika's page

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16. Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 8,921 posts (11,523 including aliases). 18 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 8 Pathfinder Society characters. 11 aliases.


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Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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The St. Louis crowd was fond of running Thornkeep levels in 4-hour slots -- whoo-hoo, my new PC is 4th level after a day! -- but my attitude is that doing so short-circuits the strength of the adventure. Those sessions start with "You're at the doors to the Accursed Halls..." and entirely side-step the town of Thornkeep, which I think is a shame.

Not only is Thornkeep chock-full of useful gear, rumors, NPCs willing to cut prices for bold adventurers, a ghetto that can turn the goblin combats into something else, etc ... but it's one of Paizo's versions of Hommlet or Sandmarsh. This is the cool part of Thornkeep: it's the ancient gamer trope of the town sitting atop the ancient tomb: malignant, mystical, and mysterious.

Every time I talk to players who are upset about the encounter that Kadasbrass references, I ask them why they didn't take the hints about that character available at the Blue Basilisk. Why didn't they go into that encounter fore-warned? And the answer is always the same: we ignored the town. Okay then.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Toph is Yoda. A snarky Yoda.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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I think it might be better as a Quest, David.

That way, it would see use when a party TPKs in the first couple of hours of the session. It's sort of a bummer, but then the players get to play the retrieval squad who goes off after their characters' still-warm corpses.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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There are all sorts of good reasons to choose to not play a character.

"I just earned my 18th XP, and I want to pick up that book next week and give my PC a Feat out of it. Also, I haven't decided where to spend my gold."

"I've played this character through parts 1 and 2 of this series. If I play this other thing, today, this character will level out of range of part 3."

As nosig notes: "this character doesn't fit in well with the group. We would have nobody who can heal." Or "This character tramples all over your character's cool schtick."

"This character won't have any fun in that adventure, or under that GM. Neither would anybody else at the table."

So under any of those circumstances, play a pre-gen, and then assign the credit to a legal PC. You shouldn't have to lie about "Oh, I accidentally left my character / Chronicles / legal resources at home."

[I post this a lot. Maybe I should just put it in my profile...]

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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deusvult wrote:

And to use the rest of RAW, the only creative solutions that can be done are to avoid encounters... not to have new unpublished encounters.

That's not quite true. Mike Brock has explained, for example, that PCs committing crimes in a city, and then sticking around, might have to deal with the city watch. He even suggested where we might find useful stats for the guardsmen.

I've used the Chase Deck to deal with parties that, for example, want to pursue skulk villains through unmapped tunnels.

If a party goes off the rails, we do what we can to accommodate that, including using reasonable stat blocks when necessary.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Uncle Ook,

I have a couple of aasimar boons, from back a couple years ago. If your wife wants another shot at one, send me a PM.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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The probability effects of the re-roll are less important, in my opinion, than the psychological effects.

While they still have the re-roll, players act more recklessly,more heroically, than players who don't have access to a re-roll. And once the re-roll is used, players act more conservatively and cautiously. It's a great way to make the end fight seem more dangerous.

As well, the decision as to whether to use the re-roll or not adds a level of strategy to a game that otherwise seems like a series of random rolls strung together with a narrative.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Does "Blink" count?

Really, I thought Martha was an excellent companion. I'd put her work in, say, "Human Nature / Family of Blood" up against most any other companion.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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John has asked that (a) we follow the game rules and impose the penalty as appropriate, but that (b) players can get around this by clever guessing-and-checking.

I'm going to suggest to my brother and sister GMs that we follow both parts of this advice.

Back in the days of 1st and 2nd Edition D&D, players had a lot of fun with this guesswork. You'd put on a ring, or swallow a sip of a potion, and try to figure out what effects it might have on you. You'd try all manner of ways of killing the invulnerable creature before discovering that electric attacks seemed to slow it down. (Robert Plamodon explains his elaborate procedures for opening a chest in his book Through Dungeons Deep. Under no circumstances should you actually lift the lid!)

Since the year 2000, we're used to a game system with skills for all that. There are GMs out there who insist that skill rolls take the place of that fooling around. No matter how elaborate your explanation, unless your character has Disable Device, you will indeed set off the trap. Unless you have ranks in Knowledge (whatsit) your attempts to find an attack form that might injure the monster will be seen as "meta-gaming". No amount of experimentation will reveal what the magic ring does unless you have detect magic and ranks in Spellcraft.

That kind of reliance on the game system, to trump in-play inventiveness, won't work under this circumstance. If you as a GM rely on PCs making those skill checks as the only ay to circumvent problems or figure things out, then the rules for skills versus technology will stymie the party. If you let players experiment with the goodies and make good guesses about the baddies, this can be a lot of fun.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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DM Beckett wrote:
So, if I even run more Season 6, (not looking like it so far), and someone does have said Feat, they will need to bring a legal copy of the book, and I'll look at it with the Additional Resources.

Absolutely. That's what the campaign requires.

Quote:
If said Feat is on page 6-7, then I'll try my best as a DM to make sure both they and all the other players get to have fun and get some use from their options, but also explain what a mess this is, both in my opinion and where exactly this al stands in the RAW/RAI/Needs clarification standpoint, and make an on the spot call.

Really? I guess that my expectations as a player are different from the people who sit at your table. If I sat down to play, and the GM explained that he thought the rules were a mess, I might very well take him at his word, ask for a zero-XP Chronicle sheet, and find something else to do with my 5 hours.

We are ambassadors for the game. I don't know how I can square that with a GM who holds the game rules up to ridicule.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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DM Beckett, how do you adjudicate magus NPCs in scenarios?

The Magus class is in the APG and the PRD, neither of which is part of the Core assumption. Rules for magus characters aren't spelled out in the PFS Guide nor the individual scenarios.

It's certainly within your purview to refuse to run scenarios with magi NPCs. It's also within your purview to refuse to run scenarios with super-science technology. But if you do decide to run such scenarios, please do not make up rules about how either works in Pathfinder Society.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Just a question to the GMs who do not require PCs at the table to have the Technologist feat to use their skills with super-science technology: if a PC with the skill hits your table, do you let him immediately retrain that feat into something useful?

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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There's something deeply ironic about a Moffat-written Doctor Who story about villains who recycle humans over and over again, making plot references to "Girl in the Fireplace."

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Dragnmoon, they're not available yet. Have a little patience.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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There have been a couple of posts in this thread suggesting that the GM in question was blood-thirsty, or gets his jollies killing PCs, or whatever.

Remember, folks, this in Bonekeep. It's supposed to be extra-deadly, Jason Buhlmann is supposed to drink the tears of players who have lost characters there, and so the ruling of hitting another PC with an area effect seems completely appropriate to that dungeon. The GM in question might be much more lenient in other environments. (I have never run it, and don't ever intend to run it, exactly because I don't enjoy that GMing style.)

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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For what it's worth, I would concur with the GM assigning an alignment to the victim PC in this instance.

We don't want a player deliberately leaving things like "alignment" blank, and then deciding, at the crucial moment, which alignment gives him the greatest advantage. (And, heck, given the enemies casting spells, "neutral" is a much more strategic choice than "good".)

Even better would be, when the GM reviews the character sheets at the beginning of the session, noticing this absence and asking the player before the game starts. (This is why we audit PCs.)

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Nefreet wrote:
That would not be allowed in PFS.
deusvult wrote:
Show me where it says it ain't ;)

As it turns out, Pathfinder Society uses the same underlying rules as the Pathfinder RPG. The Society guide doesn't have to explain that clerics channel positive / negative energy, or how the Cleave feat works, or the area affected by a burning hands spell, because all those are explained in the base game.

We don't get to change the base game in Pathfinder Society. If you want one place where squares are explicitly mentioned, look at the game definition of "a 15' cone," a.k.a. the area that a burning hands spell affects.

Hex-based swarms only affect three figures, not 4. (Or do they affect 7?) Rules for cover change significantly. There's no rules for two figures moving perpendicular to each other, unless one zig-zags.

Quote:
If you're going to a con this weekend and I'm your GM, and you want to walk away because I have a map on hexes rather than squares, it's your loss.

No, actually. It's the con's loss, because they were expecting someone to run Pathfinder Society, and you're running PFS scenarios through your home-brew rules.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Sin,

You don't have to justify the masterpiece is banned, because no one is arguing otherwise. The question is, how much lee-way players ought to have to adjust the affected bards.

Sin of Asmodeus wrote:
If one of my broken toys got taken away I'd understand and either retire the character ....

There are people who play less regularly than you seem to. Abandoning a mid-level character is a bigger deal for some people than others. In most every case, though, it's disruptive.

Quote:
Just use some prestige and rebuild.

Even for people whose bards have built up prestige points, this requires the purchase of a hardcover book. Not to start a new character, but rather to continue playing their current PC.

This situation is not analogous to the mysterious stranger / pistolero issue from a year ago. In that case, Mike warned people well in advance that the build was not going to be legal for long. I don't have much sympathy for players caught in that.

Rather, it seems a better analog to the banning of, as you say, the synthesist archetype: suddenly banning an (over-powered) option that some PCs were built around. As Andrew notes: those players were able to adjust the characters (without buying Ultimate Campaign).

Quote:
Listen. It sucks. Yes. But that's life.

It doesn't have to be; these are human decisions.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Aldizog,

Spells, magical effects, and supernatural abilities usually obviate the value of skills. (You invest skill ranks (and Skill Focus) in the Climb skill; I cast spider climb.) This isn't a surprise; you know this.

How do you feel about the Knowledge domain power that allows a cleric to touch a monster and find out all sorts of things about it? Isn't that the same issue?

"I do not wish to be part of a story in which a dim-witted liar is so consistently better at knowing things than a brilliant scholar." I respect that. That's fine. The answer should be "Don't play or GM in an environment that allows for that Masterpiece," rather than "Don't allow a PC with the ability to use it effectively."

And for what it's worth, I'll take some issue with "consistently better". In combat, use of the Masterpiece is much slower for monster identification. And using it exhausts a bard's daily resources, so it can't be used consistently.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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DrakeRoberts wrote:
How would you specifically handle this ability at your table (both in how it would work mechanically, and if necessary, how you'd make sure that its use didn't ruin the fun of others)?

In terms of flavor, I'm imagining a Bard spouting off reasonable-sounding information, and the magic of Pageant influencing the bard so that it turns out to be right more often than not. In the same way that a cleric announces whether a possible course of action is a good idea, and is right more often than not, thanks to the magic of augury.

Mechanically, it looks like there's two different concerns going on in this thread: identifying monsters in combat, and substituting for a whole host of skills throughout the adventure.

I honestly don't think that using it for monster identification during combat is all that serious an issue. Using the Bardic Masterpiece takes a standard action, as opposed to using Knowledge (dungeoneering) or such. So, it allows a bard to announce things about the monster, after a standard action's worth of preening and posturing. And it turns out to be mostly correct. (Of course, that's what we expect from bards. They know stuff.)

The bard is also spending resources -- uses of bardic performance -- while her colleague with a lot of ranks in Knowledges can use them all day long. If the bard wants to spend three or four rounds of bardic performance during a scenario on pageant of the peacock, I'm okay with her getting some return on her investment.

In terms of dominating a table by running fough-shod over the Int-based Knowledge monkeys, I would make sure that the other PCs got an opportunity to shine. Maybe they'd know different things about the objects under study. Maybe they'd have better support for their positions. Mechanically, I'd follow the advice other people have already provided: If the wizard gets a Knowledge (dungeoneering) result of 21, and the bard gets a Bluff check of 31, I'd give the Wizard the information that a 21 entitles him to. And then I'd give the bard the additional information that she whipped up, and possibly one more "factoid" that she made up, which is just as plausible, but not correct..

When would I do that? When I think the bard is running rough-shod over her colleagues, and when I think the players at that table would enjoy it.

But in general, I think Akerlof has the heart of the situation. If somebody's using pageant of the peacock to dominate a table, the problem isn't with the Masterpiece.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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I believe that the Masterpiece in question is a magical effect, and should do more than a Bluff check, even more than a very good one.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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LazarX wrote:


Are you equally that sanguine about such a choice, when you've traveled hundreds of miles, paying for convention entrance, paying for a share in a hotel room, and other expenses to attend a con, especially if it's one of the specials you're not going to get a chance to play otherwise? The current scenarios are designed for 6 players with some reductions for 4. I have little sympathy for a DM who insists on keeping his table to 4 at a convention we're running.

My whole post is a statement of my position on a wide topic, in the context of a GM who only wants to run 4-player tables.

I agree, LazarX, if the GM kept his restriction secret until the day of the convention. ("Oh, you know what? I'm only going to accept 4-player tables today.") That's no good.

On the other hand, if the GM had let the organizer know at first contact, that would be a different thing. ("I can only handle 4-player tables.") At that point, the organizer can either accept the GM's help under that restriction, or decline. ("Sorry, dude. I need everybody to be able to run 6-player tables. If you can't do that, I'd be happy for your help at HQ, or maybe demo-ing the "Goblin Attack" scenarios.")

If the organizer does accept the help ("I mean, hey, four players seated is better than none.") , then the players who can't get in to a game should take that up with the organizer, but they never made any agreements with the GM.

Feel free to substitute an employee who won't work on her Sabbath, or a pharmacist who won't fill certain perscriptions.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Back in October, 2012 the Paizo Blog ran a "Pathfinder Survival 101" column. It recommended:

Potion of Invigorate (50 gp): Going into battle with a creature that can sap your endurance, leaving you fatigued or exhausted, this potion will banish that pathetic mortal weakness and allow you to ignore the associated penalties for 10 WHOLE MINUTES. Of course, when it runs out, you get not only the penalties, but also an extra d6 points of nonlethal damage for your arrogance in ignoring your natural limits—but hey, performance enhancements are just an easy way of separating winners from losers! Honestly, though, ignoring those penalties for 10 minutes, that's freaking awesome for 50 gp.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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HowlingWolf wrote:

Glad to see my money was well spent on the Blood books.

Well, good news is I will save money in the future by not buying side books. I bought the blood books to be pfs legal. Now that content is being removed from pfs, I dont see the point in wasting money on non core books.

Can we expect these new races to be banned in the future? Should we warn new players to only use content from the core books, just to be safe?

I am pretty sure that people who bought Ultimate Magic for the sole purpose of playing a legal synthesist in Pathfinder Society were even more bummed, because (a) that was a more expensive book, and (b) the synthesist was out-right banned, unlike the Aasimar and Tieflings, which are still perfectly playable races with a race boon.

It seems to me that your complaint would apply just as well to any element of the campaign that was restricted or banned. So, you're complaining that not everything is available in this campaign?

Can we expect that the three new open races will be restricted again? Hard to say, since this is an experiment, but if all goes well, yes, they'll probably cycle out to let other race boons become open. If you want to buy books that never have anything restricted or banned in this campaign, you're out of luck, since there are some Core elements of the game that are banned (reincarnate) or restricted (crafting poisons).

And I agree with your first sentence. If you enjoy playing Aasimars and Tieflings, your money was very likely well spent, indeed!

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Kyle Baird is taken aback to find that Garble is not the simplest member of the adventuring party.

"Garble tell goat to flank. Goat just chew on tapestry. Garble think that this is how humans feel all the time."

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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I would guess that, without an Aasimar boon, the answer to questions 4 and 5 will be "no". It makes no sense to retire a race if every single 1st-level PC can be freely rebuilt into that race.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Tacticslion wrote:
So. Found this. It needs sharing. Enjoy.

And, relevant to the thread, the advertisement was for chocolate peanut-butter ice-cream ...

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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So, we have an influx of cool new PFS players in town, and some of us were thinking about tossing up a list of courtesy reminders.

Does your local store / PFS group have anything like this? Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

1. Watch your footprint. This involves spreading things all over the space around you, voice volume, food in the map, all that stuff.

2. Don't cheat.

2a. This includes: if you're honestly not sure how something works, ask or look it up. Don't presume that it works the way that's most advantageous to you.

2b. This includes dice. Listen to the GM about his or her rules for when to roll dice and how long to leave them on the table. If you need to pick up your dice to read them, get new dice.

3. Dont over-metagame. Distinguish between player knowledge and character information.

4. We're all friends, and every meet-up is a reunion. Nevertheless, don't take over the table with tangents and out-of-character tales of previous sessions.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Chris Mortika wrote:
I concur with Dragnmoon on both particulars.
nosig wrote:
You would do this even if it canceled the game and sent the other players home?

Generally speaking, yes. I'm certain that we could ladle on special circumstances ("The table will not run otherwise, and the other players want to play, even if the GM is running cold." "It's a Season 1 scenario." "The emergency substitute GM is John Compton," "One of the other players is a 12-year old with advanced leukemia, and she'll probably die before she gets a chance to play again.") that would generate an exception.

Under normal circumstances, I'll walk. My playing experienced with GMs running cold has been pretty dismal, and I'm not getting paid to play in circumstances where nobody's having much fun.

And look: if my leaving sends the other players home, that means that there were only two other players. And either the GM didn't bother to prepare, or else the GM didn't even show, and the venue found a substitute table judge. There is a serious problem with that venue, and my sitting through a session isn't a long-term fix.

--

My opinion is informed by GenCon 2012, and the Race for the Rune-carved Key, Part 2. As adventures go, it was pretty straight-forward: traps, combats, puzzles. A time limit. And several tables were being run by GMs who had not even read the thing ahead of time. Other GMs didn't even show up, and Mike enlisted emergency back-up volunteers at the last minute. You've heard stories about whole tables getting wiped because the GM hadn't read some important information? Yep.That was a potentially tremendous, historic event, turned sour at the edges by GMs running cold.

(Heck, nosig, I'm not happy running scenarios when I've only prepped one sub-tier, and find myself running another. I've made some whoppers of mistakes there.)

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Fromper wrote:
I think it's assumed that probably half or more of PCs are field commissions. I can't see many of the weirdo PC ideas at my tables (including many of my own) sitting still for 3 years of schooling.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
While it doesn't come up that often, I don't know if I've even seen a "standardly trained" pathfinder as a pc. Apparently they save those for the missions where everyone isn't going to die.

On the other hand, I recall the line in "Seekers of Secrets" that suggests that field promotions are very, very rare. So, almost all of my PCs have the three-year apprenticeship built into their histories.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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All kidding aside, I think Steve's change of shirt goes a fair distance towards separating the person sitting down to play from his or her responsibilities to the campaign. It helps emphasize the idea that he or she is "off duty".

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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For what it's worth, here in the upper midwest, we allow players one pass through "Master of Fallen Fortress" with a 2nd-level character; it's been that way at every convention I've sat as a MotFF table judge, with Venture Officers serving as coordinators. So far as I know, nobody's ever been called on that at a character audit.

1 XP, 1 PP, gold as written

Incidentally, Smite: welcome to PFS. It's good to have you. (And you might want to let your Venture Officers know about that con where folks don't report.)

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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For what it's worth, I don't really invite the players to ask questions.

I give critter name, type and subtype, which usually gives a lot of information.

If the die result is better than the minimum, I relate stories they've heard, or discussions they've had with other Pathfinder agents or friendly adventurers.

"It's a troll. Giant-type humanoid. [etc] You know that these things are practically unkillable, except under odd circumstances. And, according to one of the sailors you talked to last night, they really hate bardic music. "Two of them attacked us from the hold one night, and they was absolute fearless, except for Yasmir, our Ifrit bard. They kept well away from him."

"Ifrit, you say?"

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Let me see if I can articulate the "we'd like a change" position.

Right now, if a store were to run a 4-day event (Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday) with four PFS tables per day, the event would be eligible for boon support from Paizo, including some presents for GMs who would run at the event.

So, is that so very different from holding a coherent event at a game store, spread over 4 Saturdays? Again, at least four tables per day. The schedule would be posted for the whole gradual-con.

That strikes me as something that could attract attention, garner a sizable number of new players, and grow PFS in the area, in ways that a regular game-day can't. It might be worth Paizo's efforts to support something like that.

BNW, trollbill, is that what you're suggesting?

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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"...people were saying the Shawl hit points just sprout out of thin air, which is hardly the intent of the item."

That's not what I was reading. Rather, that hit points stored in the shawl can be healed by some other means, while the shawl is active. (So, have it leech 10 hit points, and then have the party's sorcerer cast infernal healing on you. You're good as new, with an additional bank of 10 "emergency hit points" in the shawl.)

Darksol, I understand the rules to allow healing of the damage while wearing the shawl. I can appreciate your ruling otherwise, but I think you're stretching flavor-text to cover rules cruft. In any case, it would appear to be an open question, at least in some people's interpretation. The OP should ask for a GM ruling.

"...a complete weakling subject to their every whim." Because of a -2 modifier to two saving throws? That strikes me as a bizarre over-reaction.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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A question about Fort Inevitable, because I'm trying to wrap my brain around an issue.

One of the six foundations of River Kingdom politics is that people do not own other people; slavery is forbidden. At Fort Inevitable, slavery is practiced, with rules governing humane treatment of human chattel. That's fine: I can well imagine a settlement keeping slaves, even though it's against the law of the land. But I'm trying to get my head around that same settlement considering itself the bastion of Law in the area.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Eureka!!

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In my experience, kids are a lot better at handling PC death than many of their elders.

--

I have a lot of unused race boon Chronicles. I've taken to handing one out to players when they lose characters due to a selfless sacrifice or a particularly spectacular string of bad luck.

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If I were the GM, I would hope that the dialogue would go something like:

GM: Duncan, does your character have a Day Job?
Player: Yes. He's a torturer. Profession (torture). Rolled a 23.
GM: Torture is, by definition an evil act, and I'd hate to move your Lawful Neutral character into LE territory. The atonement would cost more than you'd earn! Can you describe how you can earn money with that profession, without actually torturing people?

And then we would go to ...

Player: Sure. He uses his deep understanding of torture techniques to help victims recover.
GM: That seems awfully nice for a follower of Asmodeus.
Player: Some victims are willing to contract for services. This is a service I lawfully offer.

or

Player: I could, but really, that's what he does. The Paracount brings malcontents to us, and we torture them.
GM: Then if you want that 20 gp, I'll note the alignment shift. Do you want to pay for the atonement or retire the character?
Player: After consideration, can we say that no clients needed my ministrations since my last adventure?
GM: Absolutely.

Whatever the GM's attitude, I would expect that open, clear lines of communication would help the situation. Nobody wants to be surprised by the consequences of an action after it's too late to reconsider.

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We had this argument last year with profession (assassin). I think this is even more clean-cut.

My visceral disgust with this was born from a character-building session I had with a new player during the Season 1 roll-out of the PFS rules. He wanted a day job that would have not only been an evil act, it would have gotten him booted from my table. I told him no, PFS doesn't condone that sort of nonsense, and he chose a different, innocuous skill.

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Indeed, my favorite line thus far: "Due to lack of a translator, village priest raises knight and illusionist as zombies." (Who then continue to adventure with the party ... )

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My favorite d4 is a dodecahedron with three sides each marked I, II, III, and IV.

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Patrick, you keep talking about making things more challenging for the enjoyment of the game.

It's been my experience that players who build over-clocked combat monsters like to dominate combat. They like to win, and they like to win fast. People who want a challenging combats play weaker classes, take non-combat roles, or spread out their attributes and skill points to focus on other elements of the game.

If you look at a table of druids, summoners, barbarians, zen archers and tricked out Aasimar wizards with a level of wild-blooded sorcerer, and figure that they're all combat-heavy, how do you determine that ratcheting up the difficulty of the combats is what they want?

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Chris Mortika wrote:

Patrick F, it sounds to me like you don't like that aspect of organized play.

Rather, I get the sense like you want to run a home campaign, where it's the GM's job to modify encounters to provide a fun experience for the players. As GMs we are not allowed to make the kinds of changes you're suggesting. If you insist on doing that, stop running Pathfinder Society games. There's lots of other kinds of fun to be had with the rules system that isn't organized play.

Patrick F wrote:

I do like the organized play aspect of Pathfinder. Simply because I interpret 5.0 guidelines differently doesn't give you the right to place ultimatums over me. 1) You aren't at my table events. 2) You can agree to disagree. 3) Don't make assumptions about me.

Maybe all those stars next to your name have gone to your head. Enough said.

Um, Patrick, ... you do understand that you just (a) personally insulted me, and then (b) insisted we close the topic, right?

1) So far as I know, that's right, I haven't been at your tables. I don't understand what that has to do with the topic, though. If someone came here and said "I use the Critical Hit and Fumble decks when I GM PFS," I'd have said the same thing: "Those aren't allowed in this environment." And if that person had insisted, "You aren't at my table events," I'd probably agree with him, too. Still not allowed.

2) Disagree with me, sure. Lots of people do, on a host of issues. You can disagree with CathalFM, and with Blackbot, and with a half-dozen posters upthread as well. We're all telling you the same thing, and you can disagree with all of us.

But Mike weighed in here. It's his job to set the tone and scope of the campaign. Read what he said, please. Some of the suggestions you're suggesting that GMs make (like changing a key to a ring of 8 keys, each of which takes more than a full round to check in a lock) (like having the opponent be outside a room, having gone out to lunch, and arrive behind the party) (like changing a combat encounter into a chase encounter) (like changing the weather) are beyond the scope of the campaign. I'm not alone in telling you: Mike has asked us not to do that. In fact, he has required us not to do that.

3) I don't know that I've made assumptions about you, to the extent that I have, my apologies. Rather, I've told you how you're coming across to me. I never suggested that you do like the freedom GMs have in home campaigns. But that's the kind of freedoms you're advocating here, to make encounters more challenging for players.

Personal anecdote time: this past fall, I was able to attend a convention and play a module in which the last encounter was an enormous fight, even for a well-optimized party of 7 PCs. My magus went down (doesn't matter what your armor class is, when six clerics are channelling negative energy, round after round) and died. Not a big deal, and I had the prestige ready for a raise dead. The GM said not to worry about it, that he'd changed up the module, to "provide a challenge" and "save time", and he gave me the raise dead and restorations for free. Later, I prepped the adventure in order to run it. As it turned out, he'd put all the enemies from four different high-CR encounters in the same room*.

All he did was change the locations and tactics of the opposition. That's the level of change you're suggesting that we feel free to make; your position is that he was within his purview as GM. Now, if I were the sort of person who makes assumptions about people, I'd imagine that your reaction might be, "Well, yeah, but that was bad judgement. And that issue Mike was talking about, with the black dragons; that was bad judgement, too. I'm talking about making things challenging, but not lethal. I know what I'm doing."

Maybe you do. But every GM who changes changes up adventures in PFS thinks he knows what he's doing. In a home campaign, where the GM knows the characters' capabilities and the players' personalities, that's a more reasonable assumption. In an organized play environment, we have been instructed to run the encounters as written.

*

Spoiler:
I don't mean to suggest that the game was entirely a negative experience. The GM had all sorts of positive qualities, none of which are relevant to this discussion. I'd be happy to sit at his table again.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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For the most part in RPGs, "character advancement" in power is an illusion, because the fights never get any easier. If my character drinks from a magic river and gets new abilities -- or finds a powerful weapon -- he's more powerful, but he's also now fighting two minotaurs instead of two bugbears. However, in organized play, if I "play up" get more gold and therefore more equipment, or if I finagle a powerful build out of a few spells from one book, an archetype from another, and some feats from a third, I really can get easier fights. Patrick F, it sounds to me like you don't like that aspect of organized play.

Rather, I get the sense like you want to run a home campaign, where it's the GM's job to modify encounters to provide a fun experience for the players. As GMs we are not allowed to make the kinds of changes you're suggesting. If you insist on doing that, stop running Pathfinder Society games. There's lots of other kinds of fun to be had with the rules system that isn't organized play.

Quote:
The object is not to kill the party as a GM, but to provide enough of a challenge so the scenario isn't a walk through in the park either.

You have no control over that, Patrick. Once the dice are rolled, a "challenging" encounter can easily turn into a lethal one. Roll a couple of critical hits that shouldn't have happened, and then we're back around to the players checking the scenario, complaining to the event organizer, who needs to talk to a Venture Officer in order to bring those characters back.

What you can do is (1) play the smart NPCs as smart. Work out clever tactics ahead of time. (Kyle Baird taught me to take the time to actually run combats ahead of time as part of my prep work.) Know the effectiveness of the NPCs' spells. If it fits the NPC's personality, surrender to the party's paladin and then break the truce immediately.

Also, (2) enforce the rules. for example, players will try to draw a scroll or potion as part of a move action; don't allow it. Players won't keep track of arrows being lost. Keep track of that for them. There are plenty of ways to keep the game chalenging without changing up the encounters.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Patrick F wrote:
...The scope of the game is severely limited for PFS scenarios at the beginning years (designed for 4 players). Sometimes you are running full table of six requires some very *creative* GMing to make the scenario somewhat challenging. For instance, you can always modify the weather to affect visibility and so forth -- which complies with the PFS rules. Interesting how a thunder storm rolls in when more than four players shows up at the table... just resist the urge to lightning bolt the power gamer.

That sort of modification is good in a home game. It does not comply with the guidelines in Pathfinder Society. Please run the encounters as written.

Quote:

You can also make some minor situational changes. For instance, when you come up to that old abandoned warehouse with a mere 6 minions and a boss to challenge that the power leveler could wipe out all of them solo, you need to come up with some creative ideas without changing the content of the scenario to make it more challenging.

You could have the boss and two of the minions go out for drinks at the local tavern. Now they return after the second round of combat at the rear of the party.

Good in a home game. Not allowed in Pathfinder Society. Please run the encounters as written. In particular, do not change an enemy's stated tactics to give the party some challenge.

Quote:
The setting could be at dark, so lighting could be an issue, as the minions firing long range weapons from the shadows. Maybe there is a ship or wagon nearby -- they found out by paid informant that a large group of adventures is looking for them while they were gathering information. The enemy decides to flee -- thus allowing the ranger to help track them and thus starts a chase scene. Who has ride animal, swim or profession sailor? (reviewing characters skills and professions beforehand can allow for some interesting roleplaying opportunities).

Neither a change in lighting situations nor a change from a combat encounter to a chase encounter is allowed in PFS. Please run the encounters as written.

Quote:
Give the boss some extra time to cast preparatory spells by having the players find a *set* of keys (2d4) for the locked door to the warehouse. Which one opens the door? (Try one key per swift action, standard action and movement action per 6 second round).

No. Please run the encounters as written. Don't give the boss some extra prep time for buffing spells, just to make the encounter tougher. And here's why: when that change, that new challenge, kills the party, and when one of the players reads the scenario and realizes that you mucked around with the encounter, the players have a legitimate gripe. It doesn't matter whether you gave the boss extra time to buff, had him show up in Round Two behind the party, or changed his hobgoblin servants into trolls, just to give the party a challenge. Now, the store coordinator has to involve a Venture Officer, who has to adjudicate the situation, possibly reverse the deaths; it's a real mess.

Ask Mike Brock about the GM who inserted black dragons into a PFS scenario, just to give the party a challenge.

Now, of course, you and the people you're advising, have a much better grasp of encounter design than that guy. You know how to modify encounters so that the party gets challenged, but doesn't actually die. But they will use up more consumable gear, like healing wands or defensive magic. And so you will weaken them in future scenarios, where they might need that equipment. Also, even people running overclocked PCs get cold dice sometimes. So, you change the weather, forcing concentration checks to cast spells, or miss chances due to concealment, and the players start rolling in the single digits. And the PCs die. Maybe they would have died in the encounter as written, but we'll never know, because you decided to change up the encounter to make it more challenging.

Quote:
Town guards giving the party a hard time and justifying their actions if they are disruptive in town or start fighting in front of witnesses. ...

That's perfectly reasonable.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Tarma wrote:


For Example: A new scenario/module is announced for PFS that would include the test of the Starstone. The level cap is set high, 10-12, to limit absolutely everyone from creating a submission. If it's announced early enough, you can give players plenty of time to prepare for the scenario.

Then Paizo can have some sort of contest for those few players that wind up completing the scenario a chance to become a canonized deity.

Two notes, Tarma.

1) Word of God (so to speak) is that a the best-established pre-requisite for succeeding at the Test of the Starstone is to be 20th level. The four verified Starstone graduates were all 20th level when they walked / snuck / staggered into the Cathedral.

So, setting the level at 10 - 12 is a good way to make sure the adventure is a Roach Motel.

2) Nothing in PFS will ever advance canon, period. You can be defeated by a Runelord who takes over the world. Not canon. The campaign can try to establish that the Ruby Prince almost dies of an illness, and blames the Pathfinder Society. Not canon for the greater campaign setting.

Put another way, Colarion isn't Greyhawk during the Greyhawk Wars, nor the Forgotten Realms. The canon calendar hasn't advanced since the suggestion that the events in"Rise of the Runelords" and "Curse of the Crimson Throne" might be considered canon. Published material can ad details to the background, but won't advance the background. (We can get background about why Molthune is at war with Nithramas, but Molthune will always be at war with Nithramas.)

The OP wants Golarion to include a major god who's "worth worshipping" and who has black skin.Depends on how you count, but there's currently no such god. Pathfinder Society Organized Play is the wrong vehicle to change that.

And a tournament where one PC gets to be a god is an even worse way, since it's just as likely that "Stinkballs McGoober", a halfling summoner who doesn't fit the Golarion canon very well at all, would be elevated to godhood instead, At which point, Golarion still wouldn't have a black-skinned god, but would have a doofy god who harms the setting.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Stiehl9s wrote:

Hahahaha...

of course people in the movie derived that the cure was permanent. Because thats what other characters in the movie said. That doesnt make it fact.

Not getting into any of the rest of the debate...

But you've illustrated a terrible deus ex machina resolution to the movie. (Imagine if -- after all the desperate fighting between Cap and the Red Skull over the Tesseract in Captain America: First Avenger -- the artifact couldn't do more than heat soup. Or the Ark of the Covenant was a dud. Those would no longer be action / adventure movies. The name for that genre is "farce".

Quote:
Ive been reading Xmen since the early 80's and didnt buy it for a second. Nothing is set in stone in the Marvel universe. Characters constantly are 'killed off' or lose their powers only to have both come back at a later date. Thats canon.

Well, yes, but of necessity, and that convention is rightfully mocked as "a comic book death". A movie franchise presents a continuity that is vastly different than a universe that churns out 30 short stories every month. Comics villains appear to die because that is an effective resolution to the 17-page adventure: the hero wins and also doesn't have to spend the next installment hunting down the villain. The nemesis returns later to provide continuity (If Spider-Man never fought the same guy twice, how many opponents would he have had, by now?) and a quick, clear motivation for everyone involved.

When a movie franchise goes into the double- or triple-digits of installments, then I'd start to see the return of clearly-dead enemies. (And before you ask, I was not particularly happy with the Clone Wars' resurrection of Darth Maul, nor the Extended Universe's "clones" of Palpatine.)

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