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One problem with "fixing" NPCs, John, is that the existing scenarios are still out there, still being played. So, you can write new scenarios that address some of these character issues, but short of retiring old mission briefings, there's not much you can do to completely adjust players' impressions of those Venture Captains.
In another thread,
John Compton wrote:
I understand your feelings, John, but those two Venture Captains, in particular, have earned their scorn. Sheila established herself as very casual towards the lives of agents under her command and all-too-ready to commit crimes against innocents. Dreng has never done much to earn anyone's respect.
I understand why: they give agents missions in Magnimar and in Absalom; if they were too nice, or too helpful to the PCs, parties might think to turn to them as resources during the adventures. To keep the PCs independent, the local Venture Captains have to be drawn as either contemptuous or undependable. But then, they get the reputations they earn.
(Besides, those are our managers. We're going to gripe about them. If you want us to think nicely of an NPC, those characters should be the faction leaders, to people we choose to follow.)
Chris Mortika wrote:
I see no such restriction in the Season 7 Guide. Where are you reading this, Chris?
I was mis-remembering something from page 27.
"Characters may not spend Prestige Points during combat. For the sake of simplicity, many GMs might consider limiting characters to spending Prestige Points only once per gaming session."
I was remembering it as a hard-and-fast rule: "PCs can only spend Prestige Points once per gaming session."
Since the GM in question is working with his own character, he could choose not to apply that restriction.
Dear Agent May:
You know, you could have won that fight. You waited until the Kree warrior was killed, and then had your people shoot Hive with a couple rounds of automatic fire and a rocket. And then you ran away with a big ol' scowl.
If you had used your intervention to split Hive's attention while the Kree warrior was still alive, you could have piggy-backed on the hand-to-hand combat, letting the Kree's threat tie up Hive's ability to go after you.
Did you notice that it takes Hive some time and effort to heal? If you had hit it with like, maybe five or six rockets, that might have disabled Hive enough for the Kree to get in a killing attack. At least, the first shot slowed it down, so another shot could have hit it in its face, which might have blinded it.
Fitz has this stuff he made with Creel's blood. It's supposed to reverse the effects of Hive's infection. You have these "icer" guns that shoot chemicals into people. If you had shot it with this stuff, the bullets might have had some effect. We're pretty sure that plain old bullets don't. (Unless you keep shooting it, for a few thousand rounds. Even if it takes him a minor amount of energy to heal, that's a lot of healing.)
Good luck next time.
Dear Director Coulson:
I was under the impression you were going all in against this guy. Where was Creel? Where was Deathlok?
Amanda Plageman wrote:
This, I think is the rub. During the adventure, the GM can just make things harder? If the GM waits until the situation is already a little dicey, or bundles 3 increases up in one encounter, this is deadly. Other GMs might just throw one of these at a party, maybe one that has no difference, just to give players "hard mode" bragging rights. (Resist Acid doesn't have much effect against a party that doesn't have any acid casters.)
• Boost the DCs of all required PC Skill Checks by +4. (This increase can be waived on a case-by-case basis if the GM sees fit.)
The difficulty of Skill Checks is calculated from the rules of the game. If the GM decides to spend two of her hard-mode-options to surprise PCs by boosting a jump check by +8, is there an in-world reason that they are all falling to their death?
• Boost the DCs of all required PC saving throws by +2. Also, boost the save modifier of each creature by the same +2.
One of the best parts of the 3rd-Edition / Pathfinder ruleset is that DCs of saving throws are well-defined in the rules, and there are particular Feats that allow opponents to raise them. This "boost" is an echo of the rollickin' 2nd-Edition days, when things get harder, just 'cause.
Sorry, Amanda. I know you're trying to think of ways the players can have more fun, but I concur with others that this level of GM freedom would be a bad idea in this campaign.
But there's nothing to keep a GM from taking a scenario, changing it up start to finish, customize it for his players, and run it. Just don't assign a Chronicle sheet.
Ted Kord is teaching ...
Isn't Ted Kord dead?
More fundamentally, I was a fan in the mid-80's when Crisis on Infinite Earths came around. That series had a real point -- to consolidate the DC Universe once and for all, to avoid the obligatory two panels in Justice Society, in Infinity Inc., in Freedom Fighters, in SHAZAM!, and in a half-dozen other books, explaining that Huntress was the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, but not THAT Batman or THAT Catwoman -- and offered the opportunity to reboot important series like Superman (no more Kryptonians, no more Superboy, the Kents were alive...), Captain Marvel, and Wonder Woman.
Even then there were ripples. Legion of Superheroes no longer made sense, and it was already in the middle of its own Glorith-induced continuity shift when Crisis struck! Wonder Girl no longer had a sensible origin. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman were no longer founding members of the Justice Society ... and then Wonder Woman was, again. Those took years to iron out, and they were painful to watch.
Since then, there has been Zero Hour, and Hypertime, and Final Crisis, and Infinite Crisis, and Flashpoint, and now, ... what?
All this serves two purposes: to destroy "system mastery" of being a fan, and to make it possible for writers to spend their entire careers writing for a "maturing" superhero environment.
Let's talk about that second one first. Superman is now always in his first couple years' of heroics. Green Lantern is always learning how to use the ring. Wonder Woman is always marveling at the outside world. You never have to come up with new stories; all you have to do is check to see whether, in this timeline, Bizarro's already been introduced, and if not, introduce him. You remember those Gold Key or Dell comics, which just reprinted the same stories on a 24-issue cycle? (Because they figured that their target audience had a full turnover every two years.) Well, that's where we are now with several DC titles.
The other issue is system mastery. One of the reasons I enjoyed being a comics fan was that the lengthy continuity allowed the writers to have a conversation with us. Little touches here and there allowed us to see more deeply into the characters.
Alan Moore, of course, up-ended this with series like Supreme and Tom Strong, where the entire series was given false backstories (like "flashbacks to when Supreme had a cosmic adventure for several years in the '60s", complete with '60s-style comicbook art). Image's Global Guardians does the same, with a large cat of characters, and a storytelling convention that presumes that we're already familiar with all of them, and have been for years.
Marvel did the same with the retro-origins of Jessica Jones and the Sentry, who'd "been around back when the Fantastic Four were created, and was a mentor to the young Peter Parker."
"You know how it was, when you picked up your first issue of Justice League, and it was issue #104, and there were all these characters, and you didn't really understand who was who, but it was great fun?" Sure, but (1) I also remember picking up JLA #200, and having the satisfaction of seeing characters I'd been reading for the previous 8 years, and (2) even when I started reading, I understood that there *was* a history there, that I could learn about it.
Nowadays, there is no actual history, just the contrivance of one. Continuity is a bugaboo, a thing that gets in the way of telling a story. (How many times has Superman met Billy Batson / Captain Marvel?)
It really depends on what you mean by Evil.
Sometimes, "evil" is just a team name. For example, one of the tempting baubles from Season 4 is only evil because the GM says so. (You don't even need detect evil. You just know it's evil.) So, in that case, it's more like "do you accept this cursed item?" Much the same way as the seven mcguffins from a series of AP volumes.
Sometimes, evil is blatantly against the tenets of decent folk. Another of the Season 4 baubles is clearly something that ought to give good-aligned characters qualms. Some characters wouldn't mind it, others would. Some might argue against their colleagues taking such actions.
Two confirmations: the evil cookie that creates problems in a different scenario is a mechanic that works better in a home campaign than one in which players can give the cookies to xxxxxx-01 and have xxxxxx-03 play through the scenario where the hammer comes down.
And I agree: if having a bauble / committing an act shifts a character's alignment towards evil, I don't think it's fair to allow a Good-aligned character to pay for an atonement and go back to Good alignment, while still keeping the bauble. Neutral characters should be able to atone their way back from Evil to Neutral. But as long as a character makes the decision every morning to retain the benefits of an Evil bauble, I don't think they should consider themselves Good.
College, in the early '80s. The party is in a bar, asking too many of the wrong kind of questions about local criminals. So, the GM decides that the bartender spikes the party's drinks and will sell them to the crimelords.
One of the players is on the fencing team, and her foil broke off, about 8 inches from the hilt. For whatever reason, she's kept it and she's filed the broken end down to a very sharp point. When she realizes that her character is being drugged, she picks up the 8-inch piercing weapon and tries to kill the GM.
That is, she has one hand on his hair, pulling his head back, and goes after his exposed throat with the weapon.
Some years ago, a player showed up at my table with his character on five 3-by-5 cards, in heavily-erased pencil. I let him play his (pretty complicated) PC, but there was no rhyme or reason as to what information was on what side of what card.
Today, I wouldn't let him play with that, because I couldn't read it. Even though it was on paper.
I intend to treat electronics the same way. Scrolling through a little phone screen feels similar to me to scribbled cards. Looking at a Hero-Lab layout on a tablet reader seems the same as looking at any other clean character sheet.
And I'll need the Chronicle sheets on paper, and up-to-date.
I can cite two examples of what I mean. I've met two players, and played at a table with one, who have two versions of a character. Not two characters; two versions.
In one, the player has an Aasimar character, but started the character after the race was restricted. He plays it and, he says, nobody ever checks to see if it's legal. If a GM were to ask, he has the same character, at the same level, with the same Chronicles, but designed as a human, with different racial modifiers, feats and skill ranks. He says he'll play the (legal) human PC if the GM asks to see his Aasimar racial boon, and then play it back as an Aasimar at the next table. That's what he means by "table variation."
Another player has an fighter with several teamwork feats, which works well when he plays with a friend who brings his Inquisitor to the table. He has "retrained" those teamwork feats to general feats more useful when his friend isn't around, and he bring whichever version to the table is more useful.
I haven't mentioned it to those players, but if I'm GMing, and they bring those characters to my table, I won't allow either version.
That's what If I catch you with something illegal, I want you to fix it and not "un-fix" it after you leave my table. The campaign has guidelines about re-skinning. There's some gray area in the center, but there's also situations where we have clear directives.
I'm not talking about GM-call gray areas.
My litmus test: would an ordinary NPC think that the item is some other item, with a property the actual item doesn't have? That's the essence of reskinning to me.
Does a parasol have game stats or abilities that someone else might normally expect that your Sword Parasol has? If it looks enough like a parasol to make people think that it might protect you from a rainshower, or a shower of some less wholesome substance, then I'd call foul. But if it's apparent to everybody that its parasol-nature is entirely cosmetic, then I wouldn't have a problem with it.
Gleaming Terrier wrote:
I have a character who, rather than a Handy Haversack, has a Useful Utility Belt. If someone at the table had a problem, I'd probably roll my eyes so hard I sprain a muscle and say okay, it's a haversack until my next game.
Go ahead, sprain your eye muscle.
Does the item take up the belt slot?
Ending the series with Korra either crippled or dead at the hands of her enemies would have been enormously depressing.
The spirit of the entire series is the rising and advancing of her spirit, from the cocky champion of Season One to the woman who overcomes both poison and her own crippling self-doubts in Season Four.
Does that use a unique system, or D20 rules?
Original system. Here's an ad page.
I would like someone more familiar with the three games ("edge of Empire" "Age of Rebellion" "Force and Destiny") to explain the differences between the games. I own one of them. Do I have to buy the other two? Are they compatible?
I'm sure that worked to drive away the problem player. I'm sure that sort of experience would drive anybody away. But it also probably gave him a bad impression of the exclusionary gaming group. Maybe he has friends, or an on-line presence. If so, I'll bet that you lost a couple of good players who will believe him when he says he had a miserable experience.
Also, bear in mind that Mengkare started his Glorious Experiment while Aroden was still alive, with prophesies that indicated that he would be returning in a reasonably short period of time to bring forth an enlightened age for humanity.
So, the dragon set up his process, with strong reasons to believe that Aroden would be returning, making the Glorious Experiment either redundant and pointless, or else actively impeding Aroden's will for humanity.
You've got to admit, that takes a lot of hubris, even for an ancient gold dragon.
It also points us towards a very powerful being, who had a clear motive for making sure Aroden *didn't* come back and wreck things.
If you want to throw two or three doses of the same alchemical substance, use a Focusing Flask. If you want to throw two different types together, use a Hybridization Funnel. It's very straight-forward.
Does it work to glue regular flasks together? No, because those two items exist. We could all go around inventing reasons why, to the characters, it doesn't work, but it doesn't.
Can I drink a potion underwater? No, because then the potion sponge would be a useless item. Can you look at a fallen comrade and tell whether or not she's dead? No, because that's what the spell deathwatch is used for. Can I swing my weapon really hard, hitting less often but doing more damage? Not without Power Attack.
If your clever idea is a work-around to avoid a piece of equipment, a spell, or a feat, then no, it doesn't work.
Right now, there's no distinction between a GM running a public game at a game store, versus a GM running a home campaign and registering the games as PFS sessions. Does anybody think we should be making this distinction?
If a GM runs two APs and two modules, that's enough GM credit for a second star. (Those can even be using house rules, or a different game system.) I don't see any need to offer incentives for that.
Yoon's size makes her a special case, and therefore a bad example. I have not kept up with the Advanced Class Guide and Occult pre-gens, precisely because we can't give them out to new players and then allow them to continue playing them.
"This hunter is great. Can I file off the pre-gen label and continue to play her next slot as my xxxxx-01 PC?"
"Not unless you buy the ACG, you can't."
So, I continue to advise new players to run Core pre-gens; they're simpler, and they'll transfer to PFS seamlessly. However, if the campaign's answer is "Even if you buy the resources, you can't play that pre-gen as a PC because it's not legal," that's a problem. If 0-BAB characters have Power Attack, that's a problem. If skills don't add up right, it's a problem.
Paizo feels that conventions are an important facet to growing the brand and the organized play campaign.
If you disagree, then please develop that argument.
If you agree, then please offer an alternate incentive to get people to want to GM at conventions. Because "there's this goodie, and I'd like to have it, and it's only available at cons." is actually a pretty good reason to keep it as a convention exclusive.
Folks, forgive my asking but, what the hell is the alternative? "There's a human alive and alone on a barren world out there. We have the means to save him, but my lovely colleague is soft on him after he saved her life for six months, so no, I'll let him die out there."
If "let's bring him home" is the measure of being an awesome dude, you have a pretty low bar, friends.
Yuri, that's very problematical.
Let's say I own the occult book, and when I attend a convention, I play Yoon as a 1st-level pre-gen, and I like the character.
Can I play her in the next slot, too?
It was be a tremendous advantage to the campaign if we could say, "Yes. Just register a clone of her as your 1st-level PC, and you're good to go."
Pre-gens used in the PFS campaign should be legal PFS characters.
BNW, "plausible deniability" is the suggestion that you can do illegal things, as long as people don't have enough proof.
I was under the impression that this campaign worked on the honor system. Has this changed?
EDIT: Ravingdork, I cut a lot of players slack when they make honest mistakes, but please don't heed the advice to play an illegal character class, with the expectation that the rules will change, and none of your GMs will care. That's not the way this campaign is supposed to work.
For what it's worth, BBT, Venture Captains are not rules mavens, and "I asked a VC" is no better than "I asked my GM."
Venture Captains have been chosen for their organizational zeal and their willingness to get down and dirty with a lot of the paperwork that the campaign requires.
Some of them are very capable with the Pathfinder game rules, and Mike used that skill productively. But certainly not all of them.
If you cite which Venture Captains you asked -- and hey, once you got a VC to agree, why did you go off and ask two others? -- they can chime in and explain their reasoning.
(Or, I could have just taken your troll bait. In which case, well played, I guess.)
With respect, folks, ...
The "dead horse" comments aren't helpful. They boil down to "I think this thread is played out, and I want to mock those people who still wish to carry on a conversation."
There seems to be a clear interest in the topic, and people have unresolved issues. Fresh comments are still being introduced.
If you, yourself, have grown tired of the thread, might I recommend that you begin a fresher one, on a topic that interests you more strongly, rather than cast scorn on the people who are involved here?
Well, but there it is, LazarX. It's just as highly implausible that a Venture Captain would trust a schizophrenic Vigilante, or a savage half-orc barbarian, or for that matter a goblin with sensitive situations. But those characters get sent on missions. That's the nature of the organized play environment.
Do you think that the GM should be able to refuse an otherwise-legal PC because "Drengle Drang doesn't trust you"?
People have been offering several rebuttals to this:
"I have placed myself in servitude to the Society."
"I am beholden to the Society as my new masters, to discharge a debt my old owner owed."
"I am secretly working to advance some other cause. My master sent me into the Society as a deep mole."
"My owner is an agent for the Society. I go on missions with him."
"My 'Day Job' is a servant of that temple over there. They let me adventure with you guys on off-hours."
So, an enslaved PC is a viable character concept, even under the additional burden that a slave's master has total control over the slave's activities. You have something against it, that's fine. But please come up with a better objection than "It's impossible." Because it isn't.
How would a sending like that come about? Would another PC be casting the spell? Or are you suggesting the the GM would create an NPC (the master) and decide that NPC sends a message just to throw the PC off-mission, without any justification in the scenario?
[Incidentally, "enslaved to the Consortium, spying on the Pathfinders as a deep-cover mole" is a fantastic character background, but I don't know how it would ever be addressed in the scope of the game.]
Lots and lots of PCs have backstories with ties and commitments on the character. To name just one example, clerics are part of an organized hierarchy that might be at odds with the Society or the particular mission goal. Every single character who's part of a faction other than Grand Lodge might be tasked to do something off-mission.
If you're requiring characters to be free from all outside commitments, then you're holding PCs to an impossibly high standard.
captain yesterday wrote:
See? This is what I mean by "conflating Golarion slavery with historical American slavery." We are well on our way to getting heated with one another. Then the moderators have to step in, and then badness ensues.
Any plan where you lose your hat is a bad plan.
1) The Grand Lodge Scriptorium uses slave labor to pen the Pathfinder Chronicles. (Indeed, we remove the tongues of the people we purchase on the slave blocks and then we place them under a life-long gaes to copy any printed material set before them.) So long as your PC is a Pathfinder, and he hasn't freed the Society's own slaves back there, you shouldn't get your knickers in too much of a twist.
2) This topic never, ever ends well. People create characters who push limits. Other people conflate slavery on Golarion for slavery in American history. People decide to push each other's buttons on the forum. Chris and Liz delete posts and warn people, and eventually lock the thread.
I've been reading this thread without comment, but I think I have something potentially worth-while to add.
Once we get into a situation where characters are working against each other's goals, we need to step back and check with the players. They may be cool with that.
Example: I'm running a play-by-post PFS adventure right now, and two Dark Archive / Cheliax-through-and-through characters have just done something that the Liberty's Edge and Silver Crusade characters find appalling. It could be very tense.
But the players are noting that it's their characters who are squabbling, and they're all good with role-playing how the conflict will resolve itself. If that's the case with the paladin versus the other players, then cool.
My Favorite Mission Briefing as a player:
came in "Fury of the Fiend" when the VC explained that we were going to impersonate Hellknights to gain access to an archaeological site. My paladin/Hellknight listened to the entire spiel and then commented, "Surely you are kidding, Captain." If the attitude at the table were that I was just expected to play along and 'not be a jerk', then I'm not sure what the point of being a Paladin would be.
If the players are getting tense at each other, I think it's a mistake to try to find an in-world GM ruling that addresses the situation. My recommendation is to pause the game and get people to talk to one another out-of-character and get some perspective. it may be something that requires the GM to intervene -- "I know you're new to the campaign, but I wanted to make sure you understood that just trying to stir up trouble isn't what this is all about."
rknop, I can see that, thank you. But is there a combat in PFS where DR/alignment comes into play, where somebody who doesn't normally do weapon damage could be an effective threat with "Trusty Buddy"? The creatures I'm thinking of that have DR/good are pretty fricking dangerous, and 1d6 + middling Strength damage isn't going to do much, even if it's getting through.
That's my question: is there a situation in PFS where it would really matter?
Thanks for the correction, BBT.