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I'm not worried too much about the players. None of them are full casters. I'm more interested in how the setting works. The spell plane shift doesn't have a gold cost, so all wizards with the spell component pouch can use the spell to travel to any plane. Presumably, they have some kind of adjustable tuning fork. That's RAW bro.
I get that, but it doesn't hold up very long. The second a wizard from any universe can cast the spell, he goes to Sigil and buys 30,000 folks for each universe for a copper each and spreads them out everywhere. The tuning fork is campy but it doesn't protect the setting,
In my current game, the party traveled into the elemental plane of water through a portal from a dungeon that was rapidly filling with water.
From their, they have traveled into the Astral Realm, carried from the boarderlands on griffons.
Right now, they are walking a dragon road, following the direction of a layline walker, hoping to make it to the Outlands, then to Sigil, and from there back home.
For wizards using the Core rules, traveling between the planes seems to be pretty easy. Once you hit 9th level, you can basically come and go. That ease of access for traveling wizards seems like it will be the defining feature of this sort of game, and I'm not sure I'm happy with that fact, especially considering how easily they can take people with them.
How do you think I should handle planar travel in PF, while sticking as close to the rules as written? I'm technically running the Emerald Spire right now, but I'm breaking up the dungeon maps across the campaign with a little tweaking, rather than stacking them and running straight through.
As a GM I try my best to relay the general statistics of a creature by description, specifically it's CR-like fighting ability, or by comparing it to other monsters.
The statistics of a creature are one of the best ways for some players to become immersed in a game because it informs how they picture the game play. If you say an unarmored guy attacks the player, the player rolls a 24 to hit, and the strike misses, he might like to know by how much - not so he can game the system, but because in the minds eye there is a big difference between missing by 1 and by 10.
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Fudging is the absolute worst because it destroys any point to any decision the players make or any stat they have. "My 50% chance to climb goes up to 100% if my character will die from the fall. 5' off the ground I fall on my butt, 100' off the ground and my hand slips for one round or I get a sudden +5 bonus for finding a hand hold."
I hate fudging more than anything. What a waste of time. I'd rather my character die from a bad roll so if I realize the GM is fudging I just phone it in the rest of the game and then quit the next session.
I like for the things described by the GM to be concrete and for there be "real things" to roll dice on and for decisions to have solid consequences based on the dice. On the other hand, the GM shouldn't be bound by any rules regarding what he writes down.
An example I like to give is that I wrote up some mercenaries that were involved in a battle for a game I was running. Their shtick was coming from the culture with the finest archers, so I made them all 1st level but let them shoot arrows as if 4th level fighters.
One of my players got mad about it and started quoting me the rules. I told him he was right and corrected it by raising their saves and HP to be appropriate for 4th level fighters. He STFU after that.
For that matter, when a GM decides how he should like a spell to work, why should he be bound by the spells in the book. If it isn't the same, then you can just imagine that the wizard casting it wrote it himself and it isn't in the book.
Most errors on a character sheet come from not understanding how to level up. I'm running a game for 6 people now, 5 of which are in their first campaign. When they level up, they are always forgetting things and making mistakes:
Not raising their BAB
Not picking the new spell
Not adding a stat bonus
Not adding HP
When they made their characters, people would miss things like adding their STR to their BAB or their CON to their HP.
When people cheat, they have higher HP, higher strike, more gold worth of magic, spells off the wrong classes spell list at a lower level - that's all s%$+ you kind of need to know something about the game to "do wrong." No one just adds more to a stat because they don't know what they are doing.
GM cheating is meaningless. One player arbitrarily decides on the size of the forces. Players cheating is fundamentally the same thing as putting on the game master's hat. Player cheating is wrong because it changes the nature of the activity from group immersion to group story telling.
I just ask the players to take a vote. Would you like to play a story telling exercise instead of Pathfinder? If the answer is no, I kick the cheater out if they do it again.
The only problem with GM cheating (or changing the rules mid game) is that if a player detects it, it creates a breach of the fourth wall that spoils immersion. If the players don't care about immersion, again, you can play a story telling game and forget the tedious rules. GM cheating isn't a problem in that the game is "less fair" because it was already unfair in a power balance sense.
Bran Towerfall wrote:
wondering if multiple shield others stack and the range is tough to maintain during a fight but great as we are escaping with him during an escape.
The damage reductions aren't typed modifiers. The absolute worst interpretation I could muster is that they don't happen simultaneously and that the benefactor still takes damage = (.5*.5).
You could always memorize: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/s/shield-other
Memorize it twice and buy two scrolls for the Inquisitor to cast. That's 10 hours of 0 hip point damage. All you have to do at that point is keep yourselves alive.
You need to have something to reduce area of effect damage, either elemental resistance or constant cover. You don't want to eat a 50% increase in spell damage because you and the guy you are defending get fireballed at the same time.
Beyond that, you want to have access to: Remove Curse, Lessor Restoration, Remove Disease and Delay Poison. Have on hand an alchemist that can analyse and make antidotes.
Memorize the Sanctuary spell for safe keeping, even if you can't rely on it.
Then prepare an escape route. The route has to take an unconventional direction and must remain a secret among the PCs, excluding all NPCs.
Nothing stops you from having style. Watch this.
Player 1 says, "Longfist the Sailor, my first level fighter moves 20' forward and attacks with his rapier. I rolled 18+5 so I hit AC 14."
GM Says, "That's a hit. Confirm critical."
Player 1 says, "I'm not actually using rapier stats. I'm using great sword stats to show how hard he hits and how powerfully he can resist disarms. He can't fight the way he does and be burdoned with anything in the other hand. In anycase, I crit on a 19+."
GM says, "Fair enough. Roll damage."
Player 1 says, "Longfist unleashes a burst of 3 quick strikes, finishing with a disarm as he usually does, each slice drawing a short cut and a lot of blood. (rolls a 2d6 + 1.5*STR) take 12 points of damage.
GM Says, "The soldier quickly recovers his footing and weapon, lashing back at you with his spear. (rolls once) Striking you back to make room, he leaps a strikes a second time with a leaping stab. Take 7 damage."
75. Stand over them and wave a sword in their faces. Say in greenback, "I am a soldier of Golarion. I know you are filled with rage and are ashamed you can't fight. I pity you. When you are older, come find me and try to take your revenge." Kill them when they come looking for you. Profit.
Secret Wizard wrote:
I had a thread on here a long time ago about the PCs in my game saving a bunch of deep gnomes from a drow slave camp. When they ran the place over, the gnomes found the drow nursery and started smashing up all the babies with their hammers like a herd of bison finding lion cubs.
One of the players asked, "is that evil?" to which I replied, "Drow were created by the spider queen to be inherently evil and make war on the surface societies. Without divine intervention they are always going to be evil. Killing them is just grim work for the light." The players laughed and let it go.
I don't personally think goblins have babies. I think they are born from eggs that appear on the ground during storms and hatch fully grown.
Isn't the big problem in treasure acquisition having too little for level, not too much? The core rules even suggest double wealth as a normal feature of high fantasy. There is a massive loss of bonuses when you are without gear, but the jump from normal wealth to double wealth is almost meaningless. The jump from normal to triple is still less than from disarmed to normal.
7 at most, because rules.
Most gamers don't even qualify as human when it comes to the overhead press as a 7 requires an overhead press of 70 lbs.
Almost no gamers I've ever met can get a pair of 35lbs dumbbells over their head, or even an olympic bar with 12.5 on each side.
The character in the picture, with a body fat around 15 percent but no muscular definition probably has a strength of 4.
I'm running an online game of Pathfinder using a combination of published adventures and home brew. It is likely that the cast of players is going to rotate, with up to 8 or 9 people playing, but likely only 4-6 showing up regularly, with 3-4 core players.
I need to be able to run the published adventures and if I end up with a lot of level spread in the party, it is going to make it more aggravating, given that I'm going to have to make some adaptations on the fly to keep it entertaining when I don't know how many people are coming. I plan on leveling up the party every 3-4 games or when they complete an adventure and I need them to level to start the next one.
On the other hand, I don't really like it when I show up every week and my character is only equal to someone that comes like once a month. I know it is about the journey and not the destination, but there is just something about the reward being sapped that sucks.
Wealth by level is pretty important. The difference between a broke character vs. one with level appropriate stuff is pretty large. Interestingly, there isn't much of a difference between a character with normal wealth and a character with double wealth. Doubling a 3rd level character's wealth, for example, still doesn't get him a +2 sword.
I think what I'm going to do is just litter the game with a lot of treasure - about double what I would drop to get X number of players to WBL over 3-4 games. That way, even if I start new characters at normal WBL, it seems like experienced and actually played characters have an edge.
I might also include land, wealth, titles and followers as common rewards that you can only get by playing.
What do you think?
The three pcs were supplemented with a 3rd level fighter. The fighter was down 9 HP from full and selected at random by the roll of a die for Clanky's attack, which hit and critted, killing him instantly. It was really horrible.
The party was able to cut the golem down by drawing it into the hallway and then jamming shut the door to the kitchen. The priest still got off a 4d6 heal and a Bull's Strength, but not much else.
I pumped up the Clanky fight for this weekend because the party is coming in at 3rd level. What do you think?
These are mods and select stats. I didn't recopy their whole sheet.
The priest heard the party coming so he has already popped off an Enlarge before initiative.
Do you think the damage on the explosion at half life should stay the same? Should he still explode at half life, or at the original target number?
Skizzertz Cleric level 4
AC 17 HP 31 / Fort +6 Ref +5 Will +6
Strength Surge +2 5 /
Wand Cure Light Wounds d8+1 20/
Clanky CR 4 Large and Advanced, and Enlarged by the Spell, 10’ Reach
+2 on all rolls, excluding below
Explosion DC REF 13
It is more than concealment though. When I'm outside on a bright day, I actively avoid looking at the sun. I could go the whole day without looking up at the bright sun. I mean seriously, if something starts off too high in the sky to see, perhaps by guiding its flight by crystal ball, and then comes at you from the sun, you would never see it.
You would have to hear it coming. You are literally trying not to look at it.
I'd add a +20 bonus, and then roll again without a bonus when it is like 100' away, for like one guy working the ropes on the ship who might not be flatfooted during the surprise round.
Then someone joins your game and craps color spray, sleep and glitter dust with their fairy blooded, 20 charisma sorcerer all over your NPCs and you forget all about the power creep you thought you saw.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Do we remember that this is a fantasy game? That wizard can kill a dragon with a few spells. Why can't someone get some strange by being clever and rolling some dice? Does he need to cast a charm spell to make it acceptable? Does the wizard have to roll a guilt check when he one-shots a monster?
Creeps in real life have to be clever to get laid. My character shows up in town with bags of gold and magic, rocking 12 pack abs and a new bardic tune that sounds like the greatest song ever written. Him getting laid is implied. No one has to talk about it. You could litterally just start a scene with, "ok Cranefist, your character is in some lady's bedchamber when you here a commotion from the street. What are you doing?" and no one would bat an eye.
I know you people don't role play your heroes love making, do you?
Here is how I handle it:
"Your heroes arrive in the glorious town of Elvindrel, where blissful sounds of laughter and music rise from the inn and many untended women catch your eye as you pass through the closing markets. After celebrating to your contentment, you wake up in a second floor room of the Drowning Inn. What are you doing?"
Then one of the players always says, "I didn't celebrate. I went straight to the temple to pray."
Then someone else usually says, "I camp outside the city with my dire tiger."
Then I say, "ok, so you meet at the inn. What are you doing?"
I can't stress this enough: you don't got to RP everything. Just because you are running a game for Biggus Dichus and Hecktor the Well-Endowed doesn't mean you have to think through the details of their revelry. That stuff is all superhero secrets.
The primary thing in adventure gaming that I've always thought was kind of stupid is when NPCs take fights they can't win, or stay in fights when that becomes clear.
Lets say you are 4 goblins and 4 guys armed to the teeth come walking through the woods. There isn't a deer in half a mile because of the noise of their walking in the woods. For some reason though, these goblins will take the fight.
Then you got the CR 5, INT 13, teleporting demon who will take on the paladin and wizard for no reason other than they are there.
How about the 10th level wizard who even fights a PC group instead of just vanishing through a portal - what's he thinking?
Modules and PFS is so funny because you always have this parade of suicidal NPCs that will happily rush into a losing battle and stay to the bitter end.
Your rogues and rangers constantly scouting ahead are way more important in a game where NPCs won't take fights unless they think they can win. If you give the vast majority of the villains in your world a healthy dose of self preservation, the party will only get an easy fight if they are somehow able to initiate it by surprise. In almost all other cases, NPCs flee unless they think they can win. Often they will flee fights they can win if they don't know who is attacking them and are caught by surprise.
the secret fire wrote:
By the time you can manage it with any consistency, you are probably skilled enough to kill like 6 lightly armed dudes in a fight. I assume when my 3rd level fighter is swinging a longsword at platemail, every strike is this deadly accurate, superhuman technique of captain america level proportions, because there is no living human being, now or ever, as competent in a fight as a third level fighter.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Die Size is how you show the table who the boss is.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I never said slings took less time to train. But we're not getting into this. If you really want to discuss this, go to one of the threads I linked (or find another—there's tons). This isn't the thread for it.
Sometimes to get to the truth, you need people to hash out a specific example. Sling vs. Longbow is a perfect place to start. I'm sure over the course of the conversation, you will be able to learn more about people and why they have the preferences that they do.
For the record, I think PF is the best it can be. Rule 0 lets you run it simulationist style or run it by the rule of cool. It is up to you.
It aggravates me that the sling is so weak because I want to play my unarmored Irish barbarian with his berzerker rage and his sling in his pocket, chucking stones, eating potatoes and drinking dark beer. I can't do that in PF by the book because it is terrible to use a sling in this game.
If you want to talk about places where the rule of cool has been flipped and the writers are using the rule of uncool just to crap on me, the bard not being able to cast Gravity Bow is one of those places.
Good post, but play that backwards. I don't need rules for anything other than simulation. If everyone is equal and everyone is badass, I'll just hash out the victory conditions with paper / scissor / rock.
They need to start kicking out more of the dumb stuff - punching dragons in the face, sword-chucks, using Performance to Stealth and all that jaz.
I've found that with Pathfinder, I end up adjusting encounters a lot on the fly. When you are running for a well optimized party, sometimes modules, or even home brewed games, can end up feeling a little like a walk in the park.
Now, I'm with everyone else when it comes to saving a player's behind from some bad rolls. For example, say a rogue does his job and hunts for traps just ahead of the party, doubles up on failed rolls, and then suffers a critical hit from the monster in the next room that was waiting for him. WOOPS!
In that case, I'll do something sneaky like look at the players sheet like I want to see if he passed his saving throw for sure, but really be double checking his HP. Then I'll just award damage that is like 4-6 off from killing him, instead of causing his head to come clean off.
That's not really an issue most of the time though. Most of the time, I'm sitting there ADDING special powers to monsters, bumping up their hit points, or secretly giving them some DR or automatically letting them pass an opening saving throw or two. No one likes to win a fight just because the wizard color sprayed the BBEG or the fighter went first and critical hit its head off.
The important part is gauging when the players feel like they are having a challenge. Most of the time, it is only coming off as a challenge if the party blew through most of their spells and spread some damage around. Dropping a PC counts as well, as long as the monster gets off two good rounds of action.
The real difficult part is deciding just how much experience you want to award. If the party was against a CR 8 when they are APL 4 and they would have trashed it in the first round without spending much, you just got to bump that down to a CR 4, because that's what it is. On the other hand, if you drop an extra 60 HP or a couple hero points and free saves on the CR 8, is he a CR 10 or 12 now?
In my opinion, no. He's just a CR 8 because you made him feel like an 8, whatever you had to do to get it there.
The biggest issue I've found with pfs scenarios, especially the newer ones, is that the writers don't trust the GMs. If the writer trusted the GM, they'd give each NPC a set of motives and goals. Then each GM would be able to play out the encounters to react to their players' approach. Instead, scenarios are written with rigid instructions, npcs are forced to attack the players in obviously stupid situations. Only in pfs would two bandits think it a great idea to try robbing 6 heavily armed individuals, and fight to the death.
It has to be hard to write an adventure that has 4-6 encounters along with something to think about or solve. If you write in motivations and leave it up to GMs, you run the risk of NPCs acting intelligently, which will just screw the game up.
For example, PFS strawman scenario #1: A group of orcs steal a wand and try to escape back to "Orctown" with it so that they can sell it to an Orc shaman. PC's win by recovering the wand.
In a PFS scenario, the orcs would camp in a cave complex and spread out in random patches through a cave system so that the party could attack them in their sleep and have several encounters.
If a GM just had motivations, the orcs would split into two groups, each thinking it had the wand. They would ride hard, raid a farm and steal fresh horses, and then continue riding. They, working for a wizard, would bring a spell scroll that could conceal their tracks, or hell, just teleport the wand back to the wizard. Maybe the orcs would take a hostage or even hire guards. In any case, they would never split up and their would only be a single encounter with the orcs in a day, when or lose.
It is hard to shoehorn thinking NPCs into 6 encounters. I'm running Emerald Tower right now, and the first two levels are just filled full of lazy, incompetent or unintelligent enemies that are barely capable of working together. If they were men instead of goblins, they would blow a horn and fight you all at once.
Good stuff gents.
Here is my play report:
Exactly as I predicted, the party has opted to not have anything to do with the Fort. The first thing they did was free some farming slaves and kill the headman of a plantation, not giving a crap that slavery is legal in the area. Then they led the posse and the local ranger on a merry, overland chase until finally escaping into the safety of Echo Wood. If the party comes out of the dungeon at all, it will be for the rogue to disguise himself and travel to sell gear.
Don't know player characters I've ever met go along with helping anti-paladins, paying taxes, or condoning slavery.
I like the dungeon so far, but the background is silly.
The best tie in I could get was for the Seven Foxes to have an escape root for slaves to get out of country, and the party to randomly meet one of its agents on the way to the tower - an agent who tipped them off about the head of the Seven Foxes in the fort.
The #1 house rule I like to play with is granting the bonuses of an average typical set of big six items to all characters, regardless of class, as they level up according to WBL. There are many ifs, thens and thats involved in this house rule I don't want to get into.
With that rule in place, no one feels a need to get X items for their character and it takes the stress out of the game that power gamers feel. I then ban item crafting and magic item stores and leave nothing in but item drops, mostly no bonus wonderous items or weapons and armor with special abilities and more odd ball stuff.
When I play RAW, people get excited at first about the magic item store, but then quickly realize what a piece of crap the game is when you spend your own playing time discussing treasure, passing out loot, and buying items with a group fund with optimization in mind. All that stuff sucks.
It is so funny to me that someone would read "one-handed slashing weapon" and think that the sickle or dagger were excluded.
Sometimes, when a rule doesn't make sense, you need to think about it the way common English speakers would.
"You can use any slashing weapon that you can wield in one hand, and add your dexterity modifier to damage."
"Oh you mean like knifes and swords and stuff?"
So, I'm getting ready to run a big adventure that is suppose to go from levels 1-13 or so.
As a part of my game prep, I rolled up the magic items for sale in the town and surrounding area. Using the suggested spread for an area a size larger, there is a 75% chance any item of 4000gps or lower is available, plus 10 minor, 7 medium and 4 major magic items.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty, I rolled up a bunch of crap. Most of it was just potions and scrolls. The stuff that wasn't, half was still just crap no character in the group would want.
By the time they are 13th level, if they start packing close to 140,000gps a piece, they won't be worrying a whole lot about their 4000gp magic items.
Keeping up rolling randomly for treasure and the outrageous tedium of rolling up the items for sale if the party were to travel, I would spend hours making lists and it would still all be crap.
My point is, if you follow the suggestions in the book, the party would never have quality gear at higher level unless they make it themselves.
The only other option is for the GM to just use the hand of god to drop the party gear they want, or to constantly roll random gear for all the towns in the campaign until the party can find what they are looking for.
I don't think there is a justification for the spell lists.
"We should have spell lists cause D&D."
"How many spells go on the list?"
"You have to fit them on 7 pages."
Silent Saturn wrote:
I honestly think Bards don't get gravity bow so that they make worse arcane archers. I am working towards one now, and so I've got 1 level of sorcerer and two of fighter, with true strike and gravity bow.
I would like to make a skald arcane archer, but they don't get the basic arcane archer spell either.
A Bard should definitely be able to cast Animate Dead. The dabbling, bumbling traveler messing with powers like that is an old trope. If it were more powerful than fear, it would be a higher level. If it called on different magic or knowledge than fear, it would be in a different school.
I think those are good and reasonable compromises if there were players that were actually split on the issue.
When I tell players that both they and NPC enemies can pick whatever, I've never had a complaint, and things that seem unfair or unbalanced have never come out of it.
It is inclusive and doesn't use metagaming story stuff like, "flavor," to justify why things are a certain way.
Where in Pathfinder is the school of specialized knowledge? Do Bards with Spellcraft only understand Bard spells? Do Bards have to return for training to learn new Charisma based effects? Are they always studying, what, their 1st level Bard text book they got before the first session?
Bards have specialized knowledge because they know fewer spells than a sorcerer. Each Bard individually has limited knowledge. What spells they can pick from is besides the point.
To turn this around: Why should bards have it on their spell list?
Because Bards can use other level 1 transmutation spells, such as Animate Rope and Featherfall. If gravity bow were different than those spells, it wouldn't be transmutation. If it were harder, it would be a different level. Bards should have Gravity Bow, along with all other level 1 arcane transmutation spells. If a spell isn't good for a Bard, then the bard won't bother taking it. They don't need a list.
Ehmm, gravity bow is an arcane spell, it's just happens to be on the ranger's list which happens to be divine.
Yeah, but it isn't on the Bard list because Bard's, what, could use it?
Bards aren't in the woods enough?
Bards aren't good casters?
Bards don't use bows?
Rangers get it.
It is like someone just randomly picked X spells for each list, for the sake of making lists.
Complaining time - man, I hate character spell lists. I really do.
I'll sit there thinking about how I'm going to make this cool bard archer. When I finish up by writing down his spells, Gravity Bow isn't on the list.
Or when I go to make a Summoner and get level 2 spells. Well, I guess I can either take Haste or handicap myself, because I'm getting these spells later than a wizard but for some reason I have an odd ball 3rd level spell on it.
I wish that there were only 3 spell lists: Arcane, Divine and Nature, and everyone just pulled off of those.
If anything, Gravity Bow should be Arcane, because you are transmuting a random object, not Nature, because bows are used in the woods.
It would also be better if they didn't jack around with the level of spells between classes. You are basically picking spells for me when you do that.
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Same here. Bet that's not what happens in P2e
Sorry I haven't been on.
I really enjoy this game but I got a couple new clients at work and I just can't seem to find the time to sit and think about the game or write anything intelligent that isn't work related.
I really like this game and you guys invested a lot in your characters. If someone would like to take over running it, you are welcome.
I'm not sure I'll be able to post consistently enough to make it worthwhile to you.
They aren't though. You can say anything, but that doesn't make it so.
I'm not for players realizing every concept when their concept doesn't actually make a coherent picture. Your vivisectionist ninja gunslinger from a quiet town in rural Britian is non-sense, and it ruins the flow of the game to have to cater to every crappy three color whim to pop up into someone's head because they noticed a three book combo for more damage.
I think the main reason for building a sandbox is because you personally get a sense of satisfaction out of making it, and because once it is built, it will spontaneously generate adventures as you mull things over in your mind - a living world.
Unfortunately, if you love it you have to be willing to let it go. The second a player figures out that you are attached to the boundaries of the sandbox, they will either check out emotionally because they see the edges, or they will try to get you to break it by leaving the area or killing the king.
The best way to make it work is to give it the illusion of being without boarders, but building the sandbox into a larger world map and not specifying its limits, but by adding the interesting locations within those limits, so that the boarder on the map isn't seen.
When you play it that way, you get the simultaneous living world feel mixed with the feeling that the world goes on forever, and that it is all connected together in a shared consciousness, allowing for greater immersion, which is the main goal of sandbox play usually.