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Yes Bandw. Flavor Feats... I like it.
I already separate out practical skills and knowledge skills (and characters get their skill points differently as well. I give them almost as many points for "useful skills", and then another pool of points for "knowledge skills". I got the idea from Shadowrun.
But yes. The idea of taking flavorful options without it being at the expense of actual usefulness is (IMO) always a good idea.
I recently went to build a bunch of races (like, 15+) using the ARG Rules, and realized that the ARG would not cut it for my purposes; (it's too limiting, and doesn't have anything equivalentto a number of the options I went looking for for the races I was trying to build - not to mention that it has some systemic problems and badly balanced options.)
That said, I'm familiar with a wide variety of race creation system options in Pathfinder.
I have some issues with all of them; but most of them have some merits as well. Since I am not currently satisfied with them, I am putting something custom together; and I thought it would be good if I could hear people's thoughts on the various systems, good & bad. (So I can take that into consideration, and so I am less likely to include something bad or cut out something good).
Race Creation Cookbook
Advanced Race Guide
Immortals Handbook Challenging Challenge Ratings
I like this. It was originally designed for 3.5, so some of the things it covers are no longer useful - such as using its values to calculate quikly CR, or build classes - it could be updated to do so, but that would require a great deal of work. However, the abilities it spells out are still well priced in relation to eachother; and it can be used to build races. The number of points available for race building would have to be determined by building the Core Book Races with it and seeing how many points they take - it includes the 3.5 PHB Races, so you would just have to add in the changes. I will likely look to this for point costs a lot, as the guys involved did some serious statistical and numerical analyses on the system and how it works, in addition to a bunch of playtesting to make sure they got the numbers right.
Grim Tales Creature Creation
If I recall correctly this was an expanded/updated Challenging Challenge Ratings. I used to have it; but I can't find my PDF, and DTRPG no longer has it. :/
I'm a fan of Oathbound from Epidemic Books. It has a huge corebook (Oathbound 7) plus a massive domain book (Eclipse) and a big bestiary for pathfinder and a ton of regional sourcebooks from 3.0 and 3.5 when it was put out by Bastion Press and DragonWing Games. Its a high powered high fantasy non gothic horror ravenloft style D&D of grabbing in things from other worlds for lots of D&D diversity. I am very partial to the Wildwood wilderness continent/setting in the world with the ranger/druid demigod overlord.
Hmm. I apparently purchased Oathbound 7 a few years back. I recall reading through it and not being grabbed by anything, and I have not used it for anything meaningful since then. I was unaware of the regional books. Are they still for sale anywhere?
So I understand it's a non-gothic-horror Ravenloft type thing. What does it have to make it desirable over just not playing up the horror in the ravenloft setting, or the slightly-creepy places in Golarion?
I also like Green Ronin's Statless Pirate's Guide to Freeport which has a Pathfinder conversion book. It has a bunch of supplements and d20 adventures. Urban island D&D trade city with pirates and underlying Cthulhu themes.
This type of thing is always good. I have the Freeport adventure compendium for 3.5. I'm also a huge fan of statless campaign settings. Those are an excellent idea. If you make it statless, then I get much more mileage out of your setting book even when I change systems. Maybe my players are in the mood for a "D&D 5e" game, or maybe they want to play a game of "RuneQuest"/"BRP"; or "RoleMaster" (Okay, I would never be willing to run Rolemaster, but I have a friend who likes it enough to run it). But I could totally see myself trying out "Edge of the Empire" or "Shadowrun" with a few modifications to run a fantasy game.
I've also been toying with the idea of having some of those races have the ability to change shape into something completely different (losing access to all their regular character abilities, Tenser style) and how best to accomplish that. Currently I am leaning toward having a feat that lets you build a separate character using modified eidolon rules, with lots of extra restrictions. That would allow me to have characters do things like Ryu turning into a dragon, or Nina in the first game turning into a giant bird thing. And making it a feat (rather than an archetype like Synthesist Summoner which adds to your other abilities) means you could make take any character (Qinggong MoMS Monk? Urban Ranger? Barbarian? Greatsword Fighter? Wizard?) and give them a racially tied ability to turn into a ferocious tiger beast thing with stats and abilities appropriate to your level (or dragon, or rat, or fox, or whatever). Of course, I think this would be a complex mechanic to do well, and would be something to do later, but still, an idea.
I am also considering the suggestion of massively restricted spell access, and pondering if that might be easier by suggesting not to include full casters of any variety.
Smaller Houserules/Rules Tweaks
But as you can see, most of this stuff is still in the brainstorming phase.
How's the progress looking, Darkholme? Any new developments since Sunday?
Been busy with unpacking (Just moved into a new place last week), but a little bit.
I've looked at it some more and done some brainstorming.
I'm thinking I may take a stab at this in some small chunks first. Maybe a gazetteer with a short write up on the races and a couple countries to start. Then put together a smallish document of alternate rules focused on running a JRPG themed game; and perhaps some JRPG themed monsters or feats after that.
I've also been giving some thought to Tech Levels and stuff (After reading some of that anime thread linked above); and I'm thinking of going with something more Breath of Fire and Seiken Densetsu inspired than something more Final Fantasy-esque.
Most importantly, I'm thinking I want to integrate my other ongoing Pathfinder-Based ideas and projects into a single larger interconnected vision. A few alternate mechanics I have been working on for my home games would also work well for this sort of thing.
I've been meaning to try my have at RPG Self-Publishing for a few years now, and maybe this will be the time to do it. I don't think I will be posting my work up here piecemeal as I go, but with any luck I will have something playtestable that comes out of this, and I will happily extend that to people here to fiddle with if it goes that way. If something stops me and I am unable to continue down that route, then there is a good chance I will simply share what I have and move on to other things.
If you guys are interested though, I would totally be willing to post up any developments as a sort of "Where Am I" Progress Report as I go, and discuss things while I do it.
I almost purchased a book based on the cover alone. It was one of the Dark Heresy books, IIRC.
Exactly my point.
A good looking cover goes a long way. I had a similar reaction to the new DH Books, and then I realized: "I will never play that. I don't like the WH40k Setting; if I want a good d100 system I already have a couple of those (RQ6, Legend, MagicWorld, BRP); and if I want to run a SciFi Game I already know I will use Edge of the Empire; I would only be buying it because it looks pretty."
It does look pretty though. Now imagine if that was how I reacted to most Pathfinder 3pp; rather than like 5-10%% of them.
I imagine the ones with good covers get significantly more sales; it would be interesting to hear the actual stats on that though.
Obviously as publishers you're welcome to ignore any of my suggestions, but this is advice on things that would be more likely to grab my attention and make me check out your product in more detail. Will it guarantee a sale? No, but if you've convinced me to spend more than 1/2 a second looking at it, that sure gets you closer to a sale.
As mentioned above, a drab/ugly cover is less likely to get my attention. However, while a classy looking cover helps, you don't necessarily have to hire a pricey artist to make your cover look appealing.
Whatever you do, I think you should definitely take the time to HAVE a cover though. The ones that have no cover, and the screenshot is a little piece of art over some text, don't give nearly the impact that a bold B&W Art cover, or full color cover does. For an example (not meaning to pick on anyone), #1 with a Bullet Point Witch Hexes. It's surrounded by #1 with a Bullet Point Dwarven Questing Feats and Halfling Burglar Feats. My eyes immediately jumped to the other two, and glazed over the witch hexes.
A cover really helps. A better cover goes much further than an ugly cover, and no art/graphi design goes further than bad art/graphic design (I feel there are many PDFs on DTRPG with ugly covers which give a negative first impession). Rather than point out ugly covers (and risk hurting someone's feelings, I think I will just point out a few different types of good looking covers that grab my attention in different ways.)
Raging Swan Press: All their covers look the same, but they look classy, and at least don't turn me off. No ugly headache inducing colors, no muddied artwork where I can't make out the details or actively bad art, just the title, in white and on black, with their logo. You could do a bit of graphic design to have your own style you use for all your releases, or your could use some sort of background, but just be careful not to pick an ugly one.
If you're not sure what you're doing, and don't have anyone to doublecheck it for you to make sure you don't have an ugly cover, It's pretty hard to screw up a black and white cover page of just the title. It always looks pretty decent, and it won't cost you anything.
Here are some other ones that grabbed my attention in a good way: Legendary Games, Mythic Magic Advanced Spells - It looks oldschool with the kind of borders they selected, but it looks professional. Notice how they used the Pathfinder Compatibility logo without an ugly white box, and integrated it into the cover. Good Job, and I've now added it to my wishlist to consider later.
Green Ronin Advanced Bestiary - It looks modern, again they've included the compatibility logo in a way that looks deliberate and professional, and they've got some professional art. I don't like the font on the subtitle because I find the font a bit hard to read, but all in all, nice cover, and I've now added it to my wishlist to consider later.
Dreamscarred Press Path of War Again, Pathfinder Logo looks professional, they've got their own "Path of War" logo, some commissioned artwork; it looks good.
Fat Goblin Games Forgotten Foes Top notch looking product, though if I didn't know everything on the page was pathfinder compatible, I would not realize it in the thumbnail with how small the pathfinder compatibility logo is.
For something else simple, that looks good, All of FGG's Amazing Races look pretty good. It would have looked better if the PF logo didn't look like a sticker though.
I can't find much LPJ has put out where the thumbnail has a negative impact on my first impression (I did eventually notice some of his older stuff looked less than great, though still not too bad). The artwork (when present) is consistently of good quality (if not as detailed as Paizo's covers), but even if you look at something without art He manages to make it look visually appealing with some nice lean lines and textures. It does suffer from the ugly sticker logos that are so prevalent for PFRPG stuff, but the rest looks good enough to make up for that.
Rogue Genius Games #1 With a Bullet Point Hellfire Feats has a few things I think could have been done better (The title could look a little more cleaned up, I'm not so sure about the black box, and the Pathfinder Logo would look better if they integrated it more like it was supposed to be there rather than as a white sticker in a box; And you could totally put it there in black and white in a printed copy, which would look best), but all in all, it looks pretty good. Your cover can still draw my attention quite well with a good looking pencil sketch in black and white. It's also much cheaper than commissioning detailed color pieces, and will often be cheaper than commissioning color pieces without shading.
Kobold Press' Stuff looks pretty good for the most part. Some of their older stuff looks a bit ugly, but some of the old stuff also looks good. Book of Drakes looks excellent, as does Divine Favor: the Druid For instance.
Some of the publishers I mentioned above, or that others have mentioned in this thread, have released some things with ugly covers as well, and I'm surre I am missing lots of publishers who have excellent looking covers.
I actually picked up Necropunk a while back, specifically for its Social Conflict rules (which are not to shabby, I might add).
The setting itself didn't much appeal to me though. It seemed a bit too Warhammer 40k for my tastes, and that sort of grim dark science fantasy thing just doesn't do much for me.
"Campaign Inspirations" are definitely less good than proper settings, but I can see them as being good for testing the waters, or if you want to do a one off of something and aren't planning to support a whole setting. And in many cases, that's all White Wolf released for their New World of Darkness stuff (which was a major gripe of mine - give me the full setting, not 12 books of just "Ideas", dammit! - Also, give me APs. - But I don't really play WoD these days, so the point is now moot).
@Scott, I think the reason threads like this pop up is the barriers to entry when it comes to 3pp. Sure, the content can be quite good, but there's just so much to go through, and the production values are often very low (Which I understand; Artists and professional Graphic Designers are not free, and many of these things are produced on a shoestring budget); however, a product with a drab or ugly cover IS less likely to grab my attention. So when it comes to the 3pp content, Reviews and Personal Suggestions are very very helpful.
Dragon Tiger Ox looks really neat though, as do Odyssey and Equinox
I like giving my players 3 different arrays to choose from, which I build using point buy. Some may have more points; they would be more generalized - for MAD classes.
In the case of 5e, I'm not 100% sure what I will do yet, but I am currently leaning toward giving out an an array such that if you want to have something maxed, you start with it maxed, and then tell my players that the "stat raises" are only for feats, attributes never go up, and also give them a feat at level 1.
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
I tried Final Fantasy 1 or 2, and never really grew to like it. Didn't much bother with the series afterwards.
Yeah, I didn't much care for FF1/2 myself.
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
My issue was the combat type. Once I grew out of Pokemon, I didn't much play games with that specific style of combat. I can't remember the last time I played a JRPG, just that this is a tech level that is very common to the genre.
Fair enough, that combat system is in all of the Final fantasy games I an think of except for Tactics, and some of the really new ones have things a bit different too I suppose. IMO if you play most Final Fantasy games, you're playing it for the plot, not the combat system. But yes, the tech level you describe is VERY Final Fantasy.
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
From what you've said here, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood has the sort of tone you're referring to. Its the level is mostly world war 1 though; with a few exceptions which are well beyond what we can do today - Fully functional metal prosthetics hooked into your nervous system; and some very odd science based on human experimentation.
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
This is good in that it has fueled the growth of a high tech world with little poverty and great standards of living, but on the other hand humans don't always use divine power responsibly. In come the PCs, who's job it is to hunt down those who abuse magic in ways that threaten lives. Also, the release of so much divine power into the world has driven the number of monsters through the roof, and the PCs are also tasked with handling monsters who pose a threat. There is also the one god the humans didn't manage to kill, who has gone crazy and is slowly corrupting weak willed humans, created evil cults that cause all sorts of trouble (he dares not manifest in the human world, because they will kill him like they killed the others). The scariest part is that these cults can infest anywhere, including the nicest neighborhoods around. So, life is good, and people like the PCs face down some of the worst horrors that can be imagined in order to keep it so. The quote "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." explains the general idea of the game pretty well.
Yep. Lots of the themes you're describing are very FMA:B, and the tech level you're describing is very FF.I would definitely suggest checking This out. It's not Pathfinder, but it is d20, so I imagine thee is a lot you could pull from it.
Looking for any settings that people think are really good for Pathfinder, besides Golarion. I'm looking either for stuff that is designed for Pathfinder, or stuff that is Rules Agnostic, which I can use with any system, (but would still makes sense if run with Pathfinder).
I picked up Obsidian Twilight and it wasn't quite my cup of tea. It had some good stuff in it that I may use elsewhere though. NeoExodus looks interesting.
Does anyone have any other suggestions?
If it comes in hard copy, or has a large amount of content, that's a bonus.
Oh... I was hoping this would be fully fleshed out settings, not one offs for an adventure.
Well that might be part of it, but we have to work out a few bits of logistics.
I was also describing interests in a campaign setting book (or several) rather than an adventure path.
With what you have described as an adventure path premise, I would be much more interested in it having a Spelljammer+Planescape type of setting, and having the various weird locales we travel to that are getting destroyed, to be not already published settings. Obviously the destruction of campaign settings will not be canon, and I think I would rather avoid "What If" world ending shenanigans of places I might want to include as places the PCs might go in a future campaign (or maybe as a continuation of the same campaign but with new characters), particularly if the game focuses on planar hopping.
And if you're looking for themes I am interested in or things that would work well as a "with the serial numbers filed off" for a new campaign setting:
And if you're interested in hearing about plots I think could provide good inspiration for or a good adaptation into RPG Plots/APs/Campaign Premises:
Hey. I've liked a bunch of your stuff in the past; so here are my top 4 (5th added as a bonus, since I doubt anyone else will even think of it):
The realms had it's several subraces, all of which I liked, and the elemental planetouched were quite good (as opposed to the Pathfinder Planetouched which I think are not good at all). It also has some factions I love seeing stuff on, and you could theoretically write some very similar factions I could use (Red Wizards, Zhentarim, Harpers, Chosen of Mystra). I'm also a fan of several of the FR cultures. Rashemen's Witches, Thay's Mageocracy (hey, it fits in both categories), Raven's Bluff's criminals, Halruaa's Very Different Mageocracy, the Western Heartlands' and Dalelands various Independent City States. Mythals are fantastic. Tel'kiira and Selu'Kiira are really cool ideas. I like the Gates all over the realms. Netheril is also very entertaining, with its shadow-people. And then the Realms has its expansive Pantheons, based on race and culture, and each deity has either its own realm, or a shared realm with others of the same Pantheon. I like the idea of the Specialist Priest - perhaps as a superset of abilities which can be archetyped onto other classes, wherein the Priest has mostly domain spells, but each domain's spell list would be significantly larger, additionally, the priest's other class features might vary. For instance, a priest of Mask or Vhaeraun could be structured on top of a Rogue or an Archetyped Ranger; it would have stealthy capabilities and priestly magics suited to that. It may or may not have the typical cleric fare at all, or at least, less frequent access to effects like heal and cure.
All in all, I would want Realms material that Converts/Adapts/Updates previous realms materials up to Pathfinder, with the serial numbers filed off, but direct analogues that could be combined with actual realms material.
Bonus points if you can successfully give me Spelljammer+Planescape simultaneously.
It's been a while since I was into the pathfinder scene, and while its fairly easy to keep up with the Paizo products (particularly if focused on hardcovers) it can be harder to keep up with the 3pp.
So, for people who have been keeping up with things; What are the best 3pp available for character options?
But I am interested in hearing about the better 3pp Player Options. I remember being largely disappointed with my first foray into 3pp character options (C7's Tome of Secrets).
That being said; what are the "best options" (most worth buying, most fun, most interesting ideas, most well balanced) that are out there?
Particularly Classes and Archetypes, though if something really stands out in terms of feats and spells and whatnot, feel free to mention that as well.
I've heard good things about Path of War, and Psionics Unleashed by Dreamscarred Press.
What else is really good?
Hmm. Would you suggest removing all the higher level spells, or would you suggest keeping the ones that are just blasts, healing, buffs, and debuffs?
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
You have a 1.81% chance that your highest unadjusted attribute will be a 12-, and a 56.76% chance of it being a 16+. You can count on a rolled primary attribute of 14+ since it's a 92.8% chance.
Also interesting; the 5e example array of 15 14 13 12 10 8 is less good than the most likely rolled outcome of 16 14 13 12 10 9 - 50+% of the time you will roll that or better, rolling much worse is statistically improbable.
Using an online calculator that doesn't cap point buy at (presumeably based on the beta rules, but seemingly accurate when you dont go above 15, the most likely outcome of rolled stats is equivalent to 31 point buy, 50% of the time rolling significantly better.
I was playing with some variants on rolled stats I've seen before in anydice (reroll 1s, or no stat below 8). Here they are if anyone wants to see them.
And in case anyone else was wondering for comparison's sake, here are the odds for 4d6 drop lowest, within the variance of point buy. The average array that would produce is 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 9, an array that would cost 29 points to build.
Point buy results in lower stats than rolling, a bit more than 50% of the time.
Haha. Those are some unreasonably good stats.
There have been other times I got something like 13 12 10 10 9 8 ( I think that was it). It was the minimum possible to not get an auto-reroll.
Hmm. Odd. My post about stat generation should have showed up in a different thread...
Oh well, just ignore it.
A choice of arrays can be pretty good though. You can either take an array worth more points, or an array with a higher maximum stat, but less good stats overall.
I've been using a different random method for years (When I don't point-buy), which is less swingy. I think it's based on a post I saw on EN World a few years back.
The basic premise is this:
Here's my baseline, which I then alter based on the arrays I come up with that I consider acceptable.
This baseline can give you (at its extremes) 18(9,J), 17(8,9), 15(8,7), 13(7,6), 10(5,5), 8(4,4) - which is 38 point buy. If you take out the Joker, you end up with 32 Point Buy as the best that can be generated, and 18 point buy being the worst you can get (13 across the board). (78 as the total of all your stats)
When adjusting, I make sure there are never more than two 9s, and I try to limit the number of fours as well; but I'll shift the others around, turning 7s and 8s into 5s and 6s to match the totals I'm going for.
This results in stats that are still random, while being much less swingy than 4d6 drop lowest. I may or may not include the Joker.
Then, I'm also inclined to provide two stat arrays the players can just take instead of whatever they drew in cards, such as a (16, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8) and a (18,13,12,11,10,8), where the more MAD array has a higher point total.
Hmm; JRPGs do tend to have limited spell effects compared to D&D/Pathfinder, and they are mostly attack spells, healing, buffs, and debuffs (plus Summons, which are are a big deal in terms of power but tend to take much more mana, meaning they come up less frequently).
In D&D/Pathfinder though, most of the attack spells aren't even worth taking/using. They mostly don't scale well with the rest of the game, so even if one is competitive when you first get it, it will soon be nearly useless. If I were to go that route, I'd need to find something that does 3.X blasting differently (less terribly).
A big stylistic difference between Japanese and western RPGs is how summons work. In WRPGs, summons usually stick around and count as an extra buddy in battle, and are usually of a power level comparable to the rest of the party. In JRPGs, summons are generally a lot more powerful (many are powerful spirits, and some are akin to gods), but are significantly more limited. A JRPG summon shows up for long enough to do one attack (usually with a really high MP cost) and then vanishes back to whence they came. Essentially, summons are usually just big spells.
Hmm. Very True. They almost never have a what I would consider to be "Proper Summoners" or "Necromancers" as an option.
Something else to consider (and something that is also a stylistic decision) is transparency of information. While it's generally taken for granted, heroes in RPGs have the uncanny ability to make almost anyone talk to them. Whether it's a spell, a supernatural power possessed only by heroes, or just ridiculous charisma, it seems too useful an ability to not at least give it a nod.
Haha. That's true, but most of the people don't have much useful to say. "Press B to Jump!".
Finally, there's the consideration of tech levels. Yes, technological developments in a lot of JRPGs have barely progressed beyond the level of the renaissance. But for every Seiken Densetsu III or Final Fantasy Tactics, there's at least one FFVI or Tales of the Abyss. A couple (Chrono Trigger and Tales of Phantasia come to mind) shift tech levels violently partway through. Providing rules for airships, motorcycles and magitek armor for those scenarios might be germane, but also might be a lot of work just for optional content. Alternatively, consider that, often times, high technology is mainly the province of the villains of the piece.
Hmm. Again, good points.
As another source of inspiration, check out Iron Kingdoms if you have the chance. The setting explicitly deals with power-armor, bizarre firearms, and magic-run technology. It's also fully d20-compatible. Eberron is another good source.
Hmm. I've taken a look at both of those, and I think I have some friends who picked them up. Good suggestions.
My suggestion about assembling a team isn't just for the workload. Too often, single-person projects can end in frustration just because the person didn't consider something another person could have suggested. Even just one partner could provide enough creative variance to keep from getting stuck on one idea for too long.
Point Taken. Having some people to bounce ideas off of and to get creative input from could be helpful. I will probably get started based on the ideas I have and the things that people have mentioned in this thread, and then bring someone on to get some more input once I have something to start from.
Oh, also, the spell point system in Unearthed Arcana is a good starting point, but is broken as all get-out. Use it for inspiration, but break away from it as soon as you can. Give thought to other alternatives, as well. Rather than having a pool of mana that depletes as you cast spells, consider having magic-users initially be empty of mana and have to channel it from outside in order to spend it on spells (I think Wild Arms 3 did something like this, but I don't remember too well).
If I go with spellpoints, how about this one: Houserule Handbooks: Spell Points.
I never actually played any of the wild arms games, the fact that they're "Western Themed" put me off of ever picking one up.
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
What you need are players like me, who plan out their entire character build before the game starts, know what they're taking at each level, have all the math broken down and available in a google doc where the GM can see it, and also have the character's sheet as a google doc.
I know what you mean though. If a player isn't capable of keeping track of the required fiddly bits (EPs, Spells per day/Spell Selection, Which summons to use in which situations, and the stats of their summons) then they should not play those options.
The Occultist is what I expected the Summoner to be before the playtest. I will definitely keep it in mind. IMO the main point of the Summoner Class is the Eidolon. If I were trying to tone down the Summoner class (It is very good) I would likely do so by making the Summoner less useful and leaving the Eidolon untouched. The Summoner is my favorite class for more reasons than power; A custom tailored pet class is a really fun idea (again, so long as you have a capable player) and I really like the idea of a Turns into a monster aspect of the Synthesist. I had a lot of fun playing a sort of Breath-of-Fire Turn into a Dragon type of character with it, and I also enjoyed playing as a gnome mage who turned into a sort of Ogre Mage with a greatsword to wreck face, as his main schtick. I understand the polymorph argument, but the way I see it is that the Synthesist should be designed around being balanced "while polymorphed". I could really go for a shapechanging class that has a couple of different forms that were built using points.
Do I think they hit the right power level? Not quite so much. It's a powerful Tier 2 class, whose numbers can get a bit too high.
I do agree though, that your tweaks seem to result in a less powerful Occultist.
Thanks Guys. Lots of this stuff looks like it will be helpful.
Setting, Player Characters, Atmosphere
Sources of Inspiration
I expect I will likely have to build some races and monsters, go through the Pathfinder stuff and ban some effects (like long distance teleport), add in easier access to some things (like Phoenix Downs), but all in all it doesn't sound like it will be too terrible.
I think Pathfinder would do a pretty good job at running some JRPG type things, and I don't think it will be cripplingly difficult. Let me know if you guys have any other suggestions/input, and I will start copying down some ideas into that document in my first post when I have a chance.
Hmm. I mentioned that one of the things I like about 5e is that it's lower magic than Pathfinder; I just wanted to clarify that I am not against High Magic. I would not want Pathfinder to go similarly low magic. Rather; I want to have a low magic option as well as a high magic option.
But yeah, I agree with Rogue Jay; Opportunities to get new fun stuff in 5e is too few and far between.Maybe future classes will address that; I'm not looking for them to break the power curve in terms of maximum power, but I do want a much greater variety of options inside my character builds.
If they don't do it, I just might do it myself; and like I do with Pathfinder, always run a heavily houseruled version that is still compatible with the rest of the baseline material.
I agree with some of the things other people are mentioning, but would like to add in my own 2cp.
What the title says. Looking for ideas for what tweaks would make PFRPG more closely emulate the feel from old JRPGs, such as Tales of Phantasia, Breath of Fire 3/4, Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3, Legend of Mana, Final Fantasy 4,5,6,(and maybe Tactics).
I'm not looking to perfectly emulate any one of these games, but to just draw inspiration from them to give a pathfinder campaign a different feel.
And I'm looking for any suggestions people might have to make Pathfinder do that better. This can be alterations to the options available, the GM content, or the ruleset. I'm particularly interested in hearing any ruleset tweaks people think would help.
Off the top of my head I've got:
Since the Paizo boards don't allow you to edit posts, I'm going to link to a google doc now, which I might edit if I see anything good to add to it or if I flesh it out later on my own:
I may actually have a suggestion for you, if you want something more specific than guesswork.
It's dated, back to 3.5, but you should still be able to use it to figure out what you want, if you take the time to do so.
Basically, look at an existing template, stat it out using this guide (if something isn't in there, you'll have to make a judgement call based on something else that IS in there which you think is of comparable power) and then when you build your own template, look for a comparable point total (also, don't stack all the the effects in one place, or you're more likely to end up with something that is overpowered).
Ah. Okay. Fair enough.
Yeah, it doesn't affect creatures, but in the other thread someone also mentioned that an additional reason it cannot affect creatures is that the creature's skin and armor would provide cover to their bodily fluids (and from what I have gathered in this thread, that particular point isn't actually correct, since the skin and armor would be treated the same as a container for a potion, and the bodily fluids of a creature are part of a creature, therefore, the creature's outsides do not block line of effect for the creature's insides (but foreign objects inside the creature would have line of effect blocked)).
All I can conclude from this is that you either pick and choose what to pay attention to from my posts, or that you have poor reading comprehension, because you seem to consistently ignore a good portion of the things I have said throughout this thread, and substitute in statements of things you are claiming are my position which I have never stated to be such. And you respond in this mostly uninformed and therefore not-useful way in as insulting a manner as you can manage; congratulations, you're capable of being rude without actually adding anything of value to the discussion.
Yes. And yes, we have already established that an assumption of Pathfinder which is never stated anywhere in the book is not an assumption I was aware of before last week (though at this point the only evidence I have found of this is the widespread opinion of other forum goers). We have also already established (long before you started to actively "participate" in the conversation), that even without that assumption taken into account, I had misread the ability, and there was specific phrasing that made creatures not valid targets anyways. And yes, Fabricate is a fun and useful ability - my most recent post was me pointing out that it was a good ability, and stating that I think the game would be more enjoyable if more abilities were like it; and that even less abilities are like it than I thought, now that I know of this unstated system assumption. You have also made it very clear that you believe such an assumption is both obvious and a requirement for making a game function at all, despite me both providing examples of other games where that is not the case, and giving an explanation of what is gained by not having such an assumption.
I acknowledge that I have read all of your posts that were responding to mine, even though it is highly evident you did not actually read the posts you are responding to. Your posts are unjustifiably insulting, hostile and inflammatory, even though I have been making a great deal of effort to not do the same back to you, and I haven't the slightest idea why me not agreeing with you makes you feel the need to behave in this way.
The question I started this thread for, and the subsequent questions it generated have been mostly answered.
I think we're done here.
As a personal note, I think it's much more enjoyable as a player when I'm able to apply my capabilities in new and creative ways; and the baseline assumption of only requiring "Rule X does Effect Y" results in more situations where that can happen.
An example of what I am describing as more fun that exists in RAW: Fabricate is a spell that lets you instantaneously transform something made of a material into something else made of that material, though craft checks are be needed for things like masterwork equipment. Can you use it in town to create equipment quickly? Obviously yes. However, you can do many other interesting things with it:
Maybe you need a bridge. Or maybe you need some rope, and you have scissors with which to shear Mr. Druid's Wooly Mammoth companion to get as much mammoth wool as you need. Perhaps you wish there were rafters you could use to infiltrate a large fortress with high ceilings, but no rafters. Maybe you want to use some of Mr. Mammoth's fur to make cold environment gear for the party, without feeling a need to keep the gear later because you paid for it. You can always just make more environmental gear if you need it. You can turn a pile of lumber into dozens of spears, or bows and arrows to equip a village on short notice, for instance; or turn it into city defenses and traps.
Tremendously useful ability in many many situations, not all of which are helpful for combat.
Stone shape is a less useful but still fun spell that has similar application in some circumstances.
I tend to look for multi-utility which might also be useful in combat, spells, and try to use many of them, over the damage dealing spells if possible. I may not do the best damage or give the best buffs, but if I can get us out of there in a pinch, or make it so Joe fighter is facing his enemies single file through a chokepoint, I can still be very useful.
Some people don't like these sorts of effects. Most of them flat-out didn't exist in 4e, and some people were happy about that. For me, it was a major detractor of the system.
It's definitely interesting to hear your perspective on it Darkholme, of pretty much all the games (far too many) I've played over my decades (and now I feel old =/) of gaming I can't think of many that I've encountered outside of the Storytelling genre (Amber for example) that ask a GM to make up on the spot rules for how an ability works, in most every system that springs to mind the ability states what it does or where to find those rules or at least gives suggestions on how to deal with it (if not then I usually find I've read it wrong and am missing what it actually is meant to do, in my personal experience).
Sure. Abilities tell you what they do, but they don't always cover all the cases or all of the details. I remember a spell in Rolemaster that set things on fire, but didn't tell you what the damage was or anything like that; you had to extrapolate its effects from the rules about fire. And I believe there is also a monster whose venom turns your eyes to honey when you are stung and on a failed save, (I'm going from memory, I don't own RM, I read that in a friend's book when I was in a Rolemaster campaign a few years back), and doesn't elaborate beyond that. I'm pretty sure it didn't tell you that you would be blind if you had no eyes, for instance. And in Mongoose Runequest II/Legend, there is a spell that fuses things together much like glue, based on line of sight, and didn't precisely spell out what was and was not a valid target. The end result: Can you use it to fuse someone's sword to their scabbard? yes. Can you fuse someone's shoes to the ground so they can't continue to chase you? Also yes. Can you use it to fuse someone's eyes and mouth closed while they are sleeping? Yes again. Can you use it to affix your grappling hook to the roof so you're much harder to dislodge while you're climbing? So long as you have line of sight. (I'm going from memory here, but I think my point is clear either way).
As Zapbib notes, a comprehensive book covering every what if and spelling everything out in legal language that cannot in any way be misinterpreted would take up thousands of pages (and probably be the most boring game system to read ever!).
Sure. And nobody is suggesting that that should be a requirement. But something explicit in the book that tells you how to handle rules uncertainty, such as how to handle the situation where an ability has something that as per its phrasing would be a valid target but does not tell you mechanically how it would affect that valid target, would have been nice. In Pathfinder, apparently the answer is "the ability does not affect that target", in other games it would be "apply what's there logically based on what makes sense".
There's an excellent note in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game that sums this up I think, "Cards do what they say. Cards don't do something they don't say."
A single sentence to that effect but applied for pathfinder in the core book would have made this stance much more clear to me (I'm sure I'm not the only one).
Perhaps a little too simple to cover every situation but I feel it applies quite strongly to most RPG rule systems, if it doesn't say "X does Y" and give you rules for this, then it probably doesn't do it.
The and is the crucial part here - if the two interpretations were listed in the book as an actual rule, the (apparently correct, at least as far as Pathfinder is concerned) interpretation would list it with an and whereas my interpretation was based on it being or.
And I now think you are right, at least concerning Pathfinder. Sometimes in other systems, if it says "X does Y" but does not give you rules for it, then as you said: "As with everything, we have to apply some common sense to the readings of rules if we hope to avoid the 2000 page legal script game system". In the intro to pathfinder section, explicitly stating "When reading game mechanics, abilities, and rules for Pathfinder, if it doesn't say "Rule X does Effect Y" AND provide you with the game mechanics for how to handle it, then it doesn't do it." would not have been a difficult catch-all to include.And therefore I don't think it's crazy for me to have not made the leap that the and was a requirement.
You could not find the stated rule because it is a rule inherent to the attempt of making a rulebook.
This is untrue, as could be demonstrated by showing you several RPGs with situations where it is actually required. RuneQuest, Rolemaster, etc. Rather than go through the rules of other RPGs to give you quotes of things in them that require the GM to determine how something applies in different situations, I am simply going to state that it is not an inherent requirement of making a rulebook.
You cannot attempt to make an inclusive rulebook and at the same time make the baseline assumption that there is a throng of uncalled exception. It would be unreadable and useless.
You can, and it would not be. Though I would seriously hesitate to call it "a throng of uncalled exception", since it's explicitly not not adding in extra exceptions, and just reading the rules text literally and figuring out the consequences of a literal reading of the rules text, without adding any implied exceptions based on rules text that is not explained in detail. In fact, it makes your game more playable in many cases, because if you as a developer forgot to cover something, the GM is able to apply other rules in the system and/or logically read the rule you printed in order to determine the correct outcome of the rule, even if you didn't spell out every consequence for them. Will that mean sometimes GMs make the wrong call? Probably; but otherwise you increase your chances of running into situations where your rules simply do not function at all because you were not explicit enough.
Some ruleset make the explicit choice to leave some leeway to the DM on most of the rule. Such an explicit mention is not given in pathfinder.
Sure, some do. Others don't. And of those that don't, it can still be a requirement to make some of the rules function.
I'm not going to go search through the core book for every RPG I've ever played right now, but I can't think of a single non D&D based RPG where the premise that apparently is true but never stated in pathfinder, is at all likely to be true in those other systems, and I can think of several where such an assumption would break many things in the system and possibly render it unplayable.
As something fundamental that is different from all or at least many competing products (all the ones I can think of at the moment, and I have played/watched/read many different RPGs) you might think it could be worth defining its state, rather than assuming people will assume that no definition means the particular thing you had in mind. IE: The lack of defining a rule in the book does not tell you one way or another how it works when it comes up.
Rule make sense if they explain what a character can or cannot do. If every rule must be extrapolated with a bunch of subjective decision they are useless and you are better with a game system that gives very little rule and tell the dm to com up with DC and abilities on the fly.
Not every rule would have to be extrapolated; in fact I would argue that it's probably only 2%-10% of the rules, which have the unexplained situations which could merit extrapolation (IE, could theoretically be applied in unexplained ways).
The example I gave earlier was not a rules-light RPG with few rules and lots of GM leeway as you suggest it would have to be; Rolemaster is far from a rules-light RPG. It's about as dense as Pathfinder, with character creation and levelup taking much longer to accomplish due to having to do a large number of calculations (I would argue it takes too much math to build and advance characters in that system). Which is to say, it's entirely possible to have a detailed ruleset that still expects GMs to use logic and existing rules to fill in any gaps that come up.
As for the rest of your post, well; you use a great deal of hyperbole, and assert that expecting the GM to use logic and existing rules to extrapolate how to handle corner cases or gaps the rules don't fill in in detail makes all rules useless, and say that if the GM has to fill in any gaps in the rules then there can be no rules, and therefore this premise (that a GM needs to use logic built on existing rules to fill in gaps which arise when a rule suggests that something should happen but don't give the details as to how) is a stupid and absurd notion that doesn't warrant a response.
I believe it is obvious that those other exaggerated assertions are false. The ability/expectation to fill in gaps in the rules as they come up in no way invalidates all rules nor does it make it so that there an be no rules, and therefore the premise that a GM could or even should be expected to fill in such gaps (at least until such a time as that rule is errata'ed or filled in by a dev) is in no way a stupid or absurd notion that does not warrant consideration or a response. (though to be clear, I'm not asking for a response directly from a dev - but I would still appreciate that quote or a link to where they said what people say they did, if anyone has it handy).
The premise that if the rules don't explicitly explain the consequences rule x has on situation y then they do not affect situation y is a premise that is commonplace in boardgames and card games, but quite unusual in tabletop roleplaying games, and rather counterintuitive (since RPGs are designed with the idea of a consistent story as part of the design goal), as well.
I think it's entirely probably that Simon, and Suthainn, and a few others in the thread who shared their perspective, are correct (given that a couple people have mentioned that this is the official stance of the devs, that dev post would be like a FAQ).
I'm still looking for a quote on that, but with so many people saying that this is something the Devs have stated *Somewhere* it does now appear to me that Simon's premise and interpretation may be the official one, and not just a different basic assumption to read the rules under.
I disagreed with Simon because I couldn't find anything in the book (or with a google search) to suggest that his premise was correct, and therefore read his posts as him approaching RAW with a basic premise that was incorrect, and therefore reaching incorrect conclusions.
I still can't find anything in an official published source to suggest his premise is at all correct, but I've heard a couple times now that the Devs have officially stated this position *Somewhere*, so I probably have been reading it wrong.
It would have been helpful to me if that assumption/baseline rule/whatever was actually stated somewhere in the rules themselves, since that is the opposite premise of how a other games work (lots of games simply wouldn't run at all if that premise was applied), and apparently most of the people I have gamed with in the past 15 years have been reading RAW under the opposite baseline assumption (if the rules logically state that something would happen but don't spell out how, the GM needs to make a decision on *How* -Not If- it works), and therefore reaching different conclusions.
Its frustrating to me that this seems to be an unwritten rule that can drastically change how a good portion of the game functions, which you would have to actually ask the developers about to get an official answer for because its not in the book anywhere (you could easily read the rules under either assumption). (It is *possible* that I have just missed it every time I looked at the book, but it seems unlikely).
Diego Rossi wrote:
Hmm. I may look into the 3e facing rules and consider putting them into my home games. I totally forgot about that. I haven't looked at my 3.0 PHB since like 2006 (it was quite a while after its release before we had a 3.5 PHB at the table; we mostly continued to use the 3.0 PHB, with printed out 3.5 SRD base class writeups - I remember buying lots of other books, but I never had much cause to update the PHB - I was pretty happy with it at the time. I eventually upgraded because my 3.0 PHB was falling apart).
Alright Diego, I think that makes Line of Effect much more clear.
Just to verify I understand how the containers part works:
If there is a quote to that effect somewhere that someone can point me to, that would be both good to know, and a disheartening thing to learn which would take some of the magic out of the game for me.
I agree with you. I would actually prefer if the rules had facing built in and the game was designed to handle that, but that is clearly not the case.
The real reason the dragon's ability doesn't work on bodily fluids, has nothing to do with line of effect. It's because the game writers don't want it to do so, as it would turn a minor treasure-screwing ability into horrid wilting.
This point is irrelevant to this thread, which is why I tried to link and sum up what led me to my question in the initial post rather than simply continue in the other thread (this thread is about how line of effect works, not about the ability Blue Dragons have). I would rather not have to repeat everything I or other people said in the other thread in detail. If that is what you would like to discuss, feel free to hop threads, read the discussion there, and if you have anything to add, then do so.
1: Line of effect is based on being able to draw at least 1 straight line from a corner of your square to a corner of the square of the target that does not pass through blocking terrain.
So, I started a thread yesterday Blue Dragon: Desert Thirst Damage? where I asked about the effects Desert Thirst would have on creatures, if any.
The conclusion was that it has no effect on creatures.
One (or more) of three reasons were given, depending on who you ask:
Magic Rules wrote:
A burst spell affects whatever it catches in its area, including creatures that you can't see. It can't affect creatures with total cover from its point of origin (in other words, its effects don't extend around corners). The default shape for a burst effect is a sphere, but some burst spells are specifically described as cone-shaped. a burst's area defines how far from the point of origin the spell's effect extends.
So, there's a statement that it can't effect creatures with total cover from the point of origin, and another that says its effects don't extend around corners. I'm going to take those two statements and use them to infer that it also doesn't affect objects with full cover from the Point of Origin.
Now, in this case, it's obvious that it's supposed to affect potions in glass containers since they're explicitly called out, however, the glass should be giving the potion full cover, so why exactly would it effect potions?
1. Does glass not block line of effect?
I'm interested in hearing any points or arguments anyone has for these questions.
I reached that conclusion a ways up-thread.
The discussion continued when Simon posited that unless creatures are called out as valid targets using the word "creature", they can't be affected, which was an assertion I disagree with. Apparently Simon and a few other posters follow the paradigm of "The rules tell you what you can do, not what you can't do", and I disagree both with that premise as they seem to be posing it (I think it is an oversimplification, and that if you were to provide a general case (such as targetting *ALL* liquids in an area), then you need to call out any exceptions specifically, rather than expecting people to infer said exceptions by your lack of specific inclusion), and with the conclusion they reached while applying that premise (from my perspective, even if I take that as true, if the ability affected all liquids in a 10 foot burst, rather than just unattended liquids and items, that to me would explicitly include *ALL* liquids).
In this case, I do see that it doesn't affect all liquids in a 10ft burst; only unattended liquids and items.
I am not arguing that the ability does or should affect creatures (I simply posed a question over something that was initially unclear to me, and eventually came up with an answer myself, which was then repeated and expanded on by Bob and a couple other posters);
Likewise, I am also not trying to make a dragon who has such an ability in game, as some posters seem to think. If that was what I wanted to do, I could easily alter the monster and give it whatever ability I wanted to.
We are all in agreement that Desert Thirst does not affect creatures.
The only part of the discussion that remains is me and Simon disagreeing over his original premise (which he thinks is correct and I think is incorrect) and his conclusion he drew from that premise (which I think, even given his premise, would also be incorrect).
RAW it does nothing, because that's exactly what the rules say. That's what RAW means for Pathfinder, not presuming what you think should happen or what it seems they logically infer might happen, but what is written down in the rules as happening. Anything else is house rules, which might well make more sense in some cases and GMs (other than for Society) always have the choice to make changes to better their game for themself and the players :)
I agree with part of that statement, that RAW it does nothing because the rules say so; but I disagree with the rest, and your inference that if a GM has to decide how to handle a situation that is inherently changing the rules.
Here is the point I am making.
Let's say that there is a spell/ability that calls out that it turns *ALL* liquids in an area into drinkable water. It says attended liquids and magical items get a save, but does not specify that it only affects unattended liquids and items. It also does not specify using the word "Creature" that creatures are a valid target, nor does it call out specific effects for how that would effect a creature. It is also not a burst, and is therefore unaffected by line of effect. For argument's sake, lets say it explicitly states that it ignores line of effect.
Hypothetical Ability wrote:
Duration: Instantaneous; All liquids in a 30ft area become normal, nonmagical, drinkable water. This area ignores any obstructions, or cover, such as walls. Unattended liquids get no save. Attended liquids and magic items get a DC 15 save.
Simon's position is that this situation would not affect creatures, because it doesn't explicitly mention creatures. My position is that if says it affects all liquids, that actually means all liquids, not some liquids, since All!=Some, therefore including those inside creatures, (unless it says it only affects liquids in certain circumstances, or calls attention to it not affecting creatures) because the rules text says *ALL* liquids and doesn't call out any exceptions.
Well Simon, I don't know what to tell you. I am sorry you are so irate about all of this.
I know at least 4 GMs I have gamed with in the past 5 years, who (barring the specific mention that it only affects items and unattended liquids which I missed) would have made the same reading I did; things like this have come up in the past in games I was a Player. Hell, in some games (like Rolemaster) many of your spells are a one-sentence statement of what happens, and the consequences of that statement are often not spelled out, but instead left for the DM to figure out based on how the player is applying it.
If something targets all liquids within 10 feet, that includes *all* liquids, unless the thing says it only works on a specific kind of target or there is another rule that makes a target invalid (such as line of effect or the like).
As an example of another broadly applicable and powerful effect, for instance, back in 3e, when Called Shots were still a thing, a somewhat expensive tactic (850/attack) I saw used was to Called-Shot a 100 Gallon dust of dryness pellet *INTO* a creature (down his throat, ideally). Do the rules (in 3e) spell out exactly what happens when a pellet a marble was suddenly replaced with 100 Gallons of water, inside of you? No, they don't. I've never seen a GM rule it doesn't do damage, either. I've seen some just pick something large to speed up play, and I've seen some do math to find out how they would handle it, and I've seen some say it instantly kills the thing (it was only a medium creature though).
Sometimes a rule gets applied in unexpected ways, or has side effects the writer didn't realize when it was published. It happens.
Simon Legrande wrote:
Thus far the only reasons that have been pointed out as to why creatures are not valid targets is the fact that it only calls out items and unattended liquids as valid liquid targets, and then fact that the user's skin would remove line of effect from their internal fluids.
So far I've gathered that it has everything to do with those two things. As I pointed out before those things were shown to me, without those two things the ability can target creatures, who would have to save vs having internal fluids destroyed like any other attended liquid, that part was rather clear with the rest of the ability - even if the consequences of having that happen were not spelled out.
Before those things were pointed out, the argument was mostly that that was too powerful an ability for a CR5 monster, and some argument that vagueness of the rules text itself is a form of proof, which I still don't follow as an argument.
It's great that when you guys find a rule that doesn't make sense, you're able to compensate (I would also make a house rule on the fly if something came up at the table while I was running the game that seemed crazy unbalanced), but the first person to actually use the applicable rules to examine the situation other than myself was Bob.
If you would like to provide a different explanation for my now solved musing that a drastically overpowered monster ability might have slipped in quite a while ago and not been dealt with, feel free, but do actually provide the reason rather than just getting irate that it was brought up. If you've got another point that hasn't been mentioned that is founded on the Rules as Written, post a rules quote and make your point; I would be happy to further expand/clarify my rules knowledge with new information to keep in mind in future situations.
As for Horrid Wilting, I'm not looking for that at all - I'm not looking for an ability that does something, I was commenting on an ability which I read as being overly powerful for an at will ability on a CR5 Creature, and looking for an explanation as to what I must have missed.
As a GM, I would allow it, and have done so. I actually pointed it out to the player who was building a Lunar Oracle.
There are plenty of much more potent combinations, and I don't expect it would hog the spotlight in a well built party. Obviously an optimized character in an unoptimized party will outshine the rest. And also obviously, a well built Tier 2 character will outshine a poorly built Tier 4 character.
We had a mounted lance-wielding cavalier, who managed a charge almost every round (not a dungeon crawling campaign, so charging comes up more), and a Synthesist, and an Inquisitor, and a couple other charaters I don't recall at the moment (Party of 5). The one who hit hardest was by far the Cavalier. Admittedly, the game only went up to level 5 (that was when I got Edge of the Empire, and wanted to try running that instead)
I found the Cavalier a little frustrating (he could one-shot most opponents, and was raely in range to get hit back), but the Oracle Tiger wasn't that big of a deal.
Plus, Animal Companions start to lag after level 8-10 or so anyways, and you still cap out at a 15HD AC, you just do so earlier.
And RAW, it works (I don't play PFS, so I won't speak to that, but PFS has all sorts of limitations on top of RAW).